- My ever-amazing daughter, Katie, who is my greatest teacher.
- Her fabulous school, which continues to rock our world. Open Mind School is literally changing her life for the better every day. I can’t thank them enough.
- Our amazing tutor/sitter/modern-day Mary Poppins, Melissa, who continues to be a priceless gift. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
- Melissa’s two adorable daughters, Isabella and Audrina, who have befriended Katie and model appropriate social skills for her every single week. These girls are so kind, generous, and helpful with Katie. The world needs more children like this. ❤️
- Jennifer, our amazing respite sitter, who has worked for us so long (nearly 4 years) that she is practically family. No, she IS family. Jennifer is another person I don’t know what I’d do without. I’m so happy that although she transferred to U.C. Santa Cruz in August to complete her degree, Jennifer plans to hang out with Katie at least one day a month to keep things consistent.
- Our two new weekend/evening sitters, Lora and Katie B (aka Miss B), who have stepped in to replace Jennifer and make my life possible. These gals are flat-out terrific and have helped create a smooth, drama-free transition for Katie (and me).
- Lenae, the fabulous rapid prompting method (RPM) coach, who coaxes Katie to show us ever more of her brilliant brain. Along with Open Mind School, Lenae is unlocking Katie’s true potential.
- Nate, my ex-boyfriend, who remains one of my dearest friends. Plus an excellent handy man, graphic designer, pet sitter, and poetry critic.
- My two goofball pets: Delta, the husky, and Max, the cat. These two rescues never fail to brighten my day and make both Katie and I laugh out loud.
- My home, which is shabby and showing its age, but filled with love and laughter.
- My friends–you know who you are–who pick me up when I fall and always listen, no matter the subject.
- Team Katie, an ever-growing group of friends, extended family, ex-therapists, and others, who consistently cheer Katie on when she achieves milestones, no matter how small.
- My steadfast Autism A to Z board members, Barb and Sharon, who have helped me keep the little nonprofit that could going for over five years. These women do so many fabulous things for the community. They inspire me.
- My wonderful Whistlestop Writers community which is still going strong nearly four years after I started it. These multi-talented writers and poets get my creative juices flowing every single month.
- My role as Livermore’s fourth Poet Laureate, which continues to enrich my life in new and wonderful ways.
- And let’s not forget my poetry chapbook, Across An Aqueous Moon: Travels in Autism (Finishing Line Press, 2016).
I could go on, but you get the idea. Despite the lack of a long-term relationship or a well-funded retirement account, and yes, despite my autistic child, my life is rich in so many ways. This holiday season I’m feeling truly blessed.
Until next time,