In case you hadn’t dropped by lately, this blog has been pretty quiet this year. For someone who normally has an overabundance of words, I’ve hidden behind pictures.
The day after Christmas, I lost one of my closet friends. Even as I type know I feel a pain that I can’t find the words to describe. Rachael was truly one of the best people I have ever known. I’m mad that she was only in my life for twenty years, but I cherish every moment we shared.
She made a disability advocate of me years before parenting would take me that extra step. The world was a better place for having her in it, and I will miss her for the rest of my life. She would have been 35 tomorrow. In the midst of grieving, we had another sudden death in our Consulate community. I’m once again lost for words, and without my outlet, I find it hard to process all this loss. I can’t make sense of the senseless.
Without writing, I am out of my comfort zone. I turned to the next best thing- my camera, and tried to content myself with viewing life through a lens. But there is always more going on outside of the frame.
In the midst of all this, Pudding has truly found her place. She is reaping the rewards of all the support and effort that goes into teaching a different thinker. My girl is reading! Not just odd words and signs, brand names and adverts. She is reading books, and learning to write her own stories.
My biggest wish for her- that she can narrate her own life story- just took a huge leap forward. She will have words. They will delight her, they will inspire her. They will give her comfort when needed. And she will own them. She will own her story.
Last week I met with the Director of Teaching and Learning at Pudding’s school. She asked me if I would take part in the conference they are holding about inclusion in international schools.
I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I can’t do public speaking. I express myself best through the written word, I couldn’t even imagine talking in front of that many strangers. This is way out of my comfort zone.
But how can I not? How can I not persuade other international schools embarking on a journey of inclusion that they need to develop programs for children like mine? They need to open up their doors.
They need to get out of their comfort zone, and so do I. I sought permission from my boss, and he went one better- he offered me his support. He reminded me that what might seem like weaknesses can be our biggest strengths.
I don’t mind stepping out of my comfort zone, if it means helping to persude more schools to do the same thing.