Here is a look back at the accomplishments from 2017. I never intended this post to be so long….. but once I started reminiscing I realized there was truly so much to celebrate and so much that Eric accomplished this year!
It was 10 years since Eric was diagnosed – and wow what progress he has made over that time! He really started understanding the concept of money, and even was doing chores so he could get paid 🙂 I was most blown away by the fact that he would independently look around the house for things to do. Whether it was cleaning off the dinner table, pulling laundry out of dryer and folding, or emptying the garbage cans and taking outside — I had a happy little smile each time….I silently cursed myself for ever doubting him and his capabilities. (Ps-it was also Mr. Bacon’s 5 year ‘blog-a-versary’ wow! what a community he has created!!)
Eric started using his own Gmail account and would email us from school. The emails were usually requesting toys — ha ha so we have faded them out over time – but just knowing he was able to master that concept gives me hope that someday he will be able to communicate more freely with many people even if it’s simply through written words. Mr. Bacon also had to have back surgery – boo hoo – but Eric was very caring and wanted to give daddy medicine and take care of him while he was recovering. It was a great lesson in empathy and great reminder for me that there is more going on in that little mind than I know!
We headed to Disney for a short trip. Originally Eric wanted to go to Disneyland – and I booked tickets for there- but then he asked to go to Orlando— and I was like “oh no” why did I book tickets already. I couldn’t imagine going on a 5 hour flight across country and have him screaming the whole way about going to Florida. So I paid the ridiculous change fees and we went to Orlando. (Of course after I changed the tickets- he decided he really wanted California – but I was like ‘sorry kiddo that ship has sailed’….) In the end, we had a great trip! It was the perfect amount of time – and despite Eric being awake most of the first night we were there – he was pretty well behaved the rest of the trip. He is getting to be a good traveler. It gives me hope for our golden years. I hope that he will learn to love traveling – as we will be planning lots of “trips for 3” during our retirement years….
Little things throughout the year always surprised me. One day in April I was making Eric’s lunch for school. He was standing in the kitchen watching me. He had such a silly expression on his face. And then all of a sudden he said to me “No Lunch Go shopping Eat Pizza”….and it immediately dawned on me that I didn’t need to make him lunch that day – he remembered he had a class trip that day to the food store and pizza place. I was SOOOO proud of him. My mind isn’t what it used to be – so I could use all the help I could get with remembering stuff. When he realized I understood him – he was SO proud of himself and then proceeded to laugh at me as I made fun of myself for forgetting.
We went to a family wedding, and Eric danced with me just like he promised. He didn’t last very long, but it was still a super special memory for me that I will cherish forever. Our family was so thoughtful and ordered bacon as an entree for him; and when I wrote a post about it – it kind of went “semi viral” as it was picked up by a few different websites like Yahoo and even one in Canada and UK.
Eric was dreaming about planning another trip to Disney, and while doing so he asked to bring a classmate from school. He said “(boy) come Disney with Eric”…. and that just made our hearts burst. He shows so little interest in peers that it was so exciting that he thought to even ask a friend. We weren’t actually going, so there wasn’t anything to plan – but maybe someday! And we also got to witness him dancing with some school friends at a celebration we went to for a friends daughter. She is in the same grade as Eric – and so all of his classmates were there. It warmed my heart to see them all surround him to try to get him to dance, and also include him with them in the class photo – as he awkwardly leaned in from the edge of the dance floor. It is a memory that I have seared in my mind forever.
We had lots of small victories to celebrate…. Loved seeing him and Anna “fight” over the hover board… almost like typical siblings! And this was the first summer he was visibly so happy to see Anna when she got home from sleep-away gymnastics camp. Made me a little misty!! He also surprised us this summer by trying some new rides at Sesame Place. We got him to try the water slides- and he LOVED them, and he even tried their roller coaster….and well we haven’t gotten him back on that one yet – but at least he tried!! Two thumbs up!
We took a big family trip to Mexico to celebrate our daughters Sweet 16. This was going to be ‘hit or miss’ since there really wasn’t anything “amusement park”-wise for Eric to do. Usually when we plan vacations, they have a component that includes some kind of theme park for Eric. I had searched and searched for a resort that had a fun “open” slide for Eric – and ironically he went down it only 1 time. Yet despite one bad night and one bad meltdown, he really was great the whole week. We were blessed that Grandma and Pop Pop came with us and they watched him so much that week – and even had him sleep in their room….but he really showed us how he can adapt and be content in different circumstances when the world isn’t set up to revolve around him and what he wants. That was huge.
Eric started 8th grade. Last year at the middle school. Gulp….sigh…cry… He is having a really great year. We are so proud of how much he has mastered academically. Adding money for shopping, multiplication, planets, other projects….he has shown that he can focus for a certain period of time that is required of him to do his work at school…. hoping that he will continue to challenge himself and never limit what he can achieve. He wore a “collared” shirt for the first school picture ever! Woo hoo! Now if I can work on getting him into jeans….. hahah He was a little champ during his hospital dental procedure. SO VERY BRAVE. I think it was harder on mommy and daddy. Hope we don’t have to go back again for something like that for a very very long time!!! And he was picked to be the first ever “season pass member of the month” at Sesame Place that came with all sorts of bells and whistles (like the super character photo you can see in our cover photo). They are so good to him there…and it was a special honor for them to recognize him!
He slept until 7:35am one morning! Need I say more??!! and there are several times I actually have to wake him for school. Hallelujah. Hoping for more of that in 2018! He had so much fun going trick or treating this year. He didn’t run into any houses – so that was a plus! It’s funny, I think he tried to go to the exact same houses that he went to the year prior. There was a lady waiting in her driveway to give him candy and he was adamantly yelling ‘no!’ and didn’t want to go to her house…he finally did thank goodness…. but his little mind works in simply amazing ways….
Mr and Mrs. Bacon spoke at a conference together for first time at OCALICON in Columbus, Ohio. It was super honor to do so – and hope that it is the first of many. We also launched a new website for our holiday wish list for our Special Wants Facebook group. And we ended up granting over 1,300 wishes. Eric eagerly counted down to Christmas and helped us decorate the house.
When I look back over the year there are so many accomplishments. Many of them are small little things that some people may not notice…but it’s those little things that add up to be BIG things for our family. Eric would gain new language or make efforts to communicate with us about things that he had never done in the past. Like in the morning before school he would see his clothes I picked out for the day and he would tell me they are “backwards” – when he was trying to tell me the pants were inside out. I loved that one. Another day as I was quickly getting dressed to take him out to the bus, he looked at my feet and said “wrong match, or wrong shoes” or something like that – and I looked down and realized I was wearing two different sneakers! When his sister isn’t around he will ask “Where’s Anna?” <——she really like that one. This mama does too! It’s those little questions and comments that are my constant reminder that there is so much more going on inside his mind then I know. And it’s my goal to make sure I keep helping him figure out how to make those connections and how to connect with those around him.
So it’s time to close the chapter of 2017, and start writing the new chapter titled: 2018.
Wishing you and yours a year filled with tiny victories and celebrations about all of those accomplishments our loved ones will make!
—- The Bacons…