Have you ever sat and watched several hundred photos transfer from your phone to your computer? I did that for 685 for them yesterday, and it was like watching the last 6 months or so come to life in front of me- the good and the bad. I don't just use my phone camera to capture the special moments that pop up with my boys, or even the every day. My camera roll is like my diary, my to-do list, and my "important stuff I need to remember" list. So not only were there two little boys growing before my eyes, there was also all of the hard stuff I've had to keep records of this year. Records of property settlement, photos of the stuff that was already broken when we moved in here, NDIS legislation, obnoxious emails from NDIS planners, text messages from friends dealing with obnoxious planners.
I saw my boys grow before my eyes. I saw joy on their faces everywhere they were- at school, playgroup, with their therapists, with me and with each other. I saw them awake and asleep- because everyone knows that a sleeping child in our world is a "kodak moment"!
But it wasn't just their story this year that I saw, as has so often been the case in my camera roll. I saw me too. For the first time I sucked up my hatred of being photographed and I saw myself and the joy that my boys and I feel together. I saw our journey and our growth together.
I saw the Support group that I've been leading this year. The happiness on the faces of women who have come to be dear friends as they enjoyed each others company and the time they could spend together, just as they were.
I saw the special needs swimming club that I am so stinking proud of, but which I was also kind of pleased to be handing over to others with more time to love it. I saw my Little One clinging to his instructor, and I saw him gain confidence and skill in the water, and I saw Bubbly having the BEST time despite his annoyance with actually having to follow a lesson plan!
I saw the hard stuff. My battles with the NDIA to get my children the supports that they deserve, and the fights for others' children as they reached out for support against a system that promises much but doesn't deliver without a fight. I saw an advocate emerging in those photos, something I never thought I would call myself.
My overwhelming sense as I looked at those photos though, is that we've really LIVED this year. We didn't just survive. We didn't just cope. We stepped out of our comfort zone again and again, and we lived to tell the tale, even if that tale didn't always have the ending we envisaged.