2011 was a big year for us. A good year.
So many things unexpectedly fell into place, making a dream that seemed a remote possibility become reality.
We moved into a new home.
Not just any home mind you, but a home that somehow meets all of our major criteria, and is ALREADY accessible for Eden. It's a spacious ranch, with extra-wide doorways and hallways, no step-up or downs to any room, and a ramp in the garage so Eden can drive her power chair into the house with room to park it. No more getting ready for school in the cold garage with a frozen lumpy seat (her powerchair has a gel cushion)!
So we found a really great house that immediately felt like home - even before we were fully moved in. It is nothing extravagant, but is very functional, practical, and modest - like us.
Moving is tricky business. You can check out the house, and make sure it is what you are looking for, but there are a lot of things that you can't fully know until you make the move. I drove through the neighborhood numerous times, and visited the school and met with the principal, but until you make the move it's hard to really know how things will mesh with new neighbors and a new school for your kids. Having children with special needs makes these kinds of things even trickier to navigate. You learn to expect some give and take. You hope for neighbors and teachers, school staff, kids, and other parents who will show true kindness and acceptance of your kids, but you also prepare yourself for a full range of responses and get set to advocate and educate as necessary - hopefully in a positive way, but always on high alert.
We got lucky. Our neighbors are great and have been very welcoming and kind to our family. The school is wonderful - overall climate has been very accepting. The principal is a compassionate person who listens and is a proactive problem-solver. The girls teacher is very much a "Professional." She knows her stuff, and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure that her students learn. She zeroed right in on H and E's strengths and weaknesses, and has stayed in communication with us regarding strategies that seem to be working or not working, and what things we need to be putting in some extra time on at home. The girls have made friends - we have already been to two birthday parties and have had a couple of "play-dates." The parents have also been very warm and accepting - several have approached me to tell me how much their kid loves Holland and Eden.
All in all, I couldn't ask for better.