I have always been an eternal optimist; I’ve been known to call myself an annoying optimist because I always look on the bright side. Annoying as it may be to me at times, this trait has served me well in life; knowing that life was going to be fine when Jared was born is just one example of my optimism at work.
I am also one to drink up knowledge; I’m that lady in the commercial when you bring up a subject I am the first to jump to the internet and learn what I can within a matter of moments (however I still prefer Google).
Jared was born in 1991 before the internet was in every home or on every phone. He arrived at 3:15 in the morning and by 12pm the next day I was working on my expertise in Down syndrome. I was asking the social workers in the hospital to give me everything they could find, I was calling local family groups trying to connect with families, I was recalling my life experiences working with an individual with Down syndrome and watching Life Goes On. It would be wrong to say I was an expert within 9 hours, but I was on the right path.
In my journey to be educated I came across many inspirational tidbits, Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kinglsey would be one good example. http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html
I created a file that held all of these little inspirational tidbits. There were moments where I had what I referred to as a ‘Why me? day’. Thankfully these days were few and far between but if I was having a day where I felt I needed a boost, I would pull that file out and read through those tidbits – as a result that file became known as my ‘Why me? file’. It always worked at alleviating any impending slump, my spirit would be renewed and I would once again be ready to tackle any challenge presented.
I can remember when Jared was approaching the age of five we were getting ready to pack up our household and move back across the country (from New Jersey to California this time around). My girlfriend, Cami, was over with her kids; the kids were keeping themselves busy while we were packing a few things. Cami started working on packing my desk up and she came across my ‘Why me? file’. She asked what it was and I explained. She started to read a few of the items and was moved by what she read. As Cami was reading through the file the realization came to me that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had pulled that file out and read through it. What a good feeling that realization brought.
It has now been years since I’ve pulled out my ‘Why me? file’, in fact it’s been so long I can’t remember when I last pulled it out. I know that we moved into our house in 1999, I moved the file here and placed it on a shelf but I don’t recall looking into it at anytime in the past 12 years. Another realization that brings good feelings, it’s nice to know that life truly does go on and I don’t even have to question why.