Saying good-bye to being 25 feels odd. I feel ten years older and yet I caught myself saying "I'm too young for this" more than a few times this past year. Since Emi was born less than a week after my birthday, twenty-five was a pivotal year, completely characterized by becoming a mother, and then her diagnosis. Simply put, I changed. I'm not the same person anymore. When Emi was born, my world shifted and a part of my heart now resided outside of my body. I had a great responsibility to take care of this new little life. And then when Emi was diagnosed with CDKL5, my world shifted again. Things that I never even noticed or thought of before became so important to me. Things like wheelchair accessibility, special education, and disability awareness. As eye opening as the physical things have been though, Emi has given me a completely new perspective on life that I never would've experienced otherwise.

This past year I cried, I laughed, I grew, and I cried some more. I learned more compassion than ever and my heart broke over and over. I learned that the human spirit is resilient and that life goes on. Most of all, I was reminded that faith, family, and prayer are essential. The role of being a mother of a child with special needs is daunting, but I'm taking it one day at a time.

We celebrated just the three of us today. Chris came home from work early and we had a little picnic at the park. After the sun went down, it got a little chilly (fall!!!) so we headed home and ended the day with a pint of Ben and Jerry's loaded with twenty-six candles. My life is so blessed and I'm feeling extra grateful tonight for my little family, a healthy body, and for the beginning of this new year.

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