Out with the old, in with the new.

The eve of a new year. (Oh – and my mum’s birthday – happy birthday mum!) Those who are closest to me will know only too well I don’t really go in for New Year’s Eve.

I used to. There was many a Dec 31st where I’d see in the stroke of midnight with my glad rags on and a glass (*bottle) of Fizz. Times change when you have babies though and far more low key New Years celebrations became common place.

I’ve had a true dislike for New Year since the twins arrived. That year was spent in NICU, with the sound of the alarms replacing the chimes of Big Ben, another stressful and worrying day rolling into the next. Fireworks and party goers continued regardless of the heartache that existed as my real life, as the world carried on around us.

As the twins mastered the art of survival in those first few months, I was eternally grateful for every day they woke up to. Days turned into months which turned into years. I got to the end of another year, through the trials and tribulations of their little complicated lives, and was pleased we made it. Each New Year’s Eve I can’t help but feel thankful for getting through, relatively unscathed and feel satisfied that we ‘did it’ again. We faced the demons, fought the battles and came out with our armour intact. Our hearts may have taken yet another battering, yet they were patched up and refilled with the joy and pride these boys never fail to deliver.

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Whilst I celebrate the year gone by, despite the scenic route we sometimes take in life, I cannot help but turn my mind to the one ahead. I always wonder what it will bring. I wonder what is in store. In many ways, I feel trepidation and worry about what will lie on our path. I was safe and settled in the year gone by…I had it covered….this next one is unknown territory.

Will this be the year Reubs needs that big surgery…the one I have worked so hard for him to avoid as yet….will the X-rays deem this fate….what shall come of Zach’s  surgical meeting…how many times will I have to kiss them nightnight for their magic sleep under the spell of anaesthesia this year? Will I make the right decisions for them, there’s some big ones coming up…which way is the right way to turn?

And the one that silently and privately haunts me the most…as most families with children who have disabilities will fear….will I end next New Year’s Eve with them still with me..are they destined to stay. I pray I never have to face that pathway.

As we approach the last hours of this current year, I can only continue to hope that with the love and adoration I surround these boys with, that they will continue to shine – shine in their own unique way, touching the lives of those that meet them.

For sake of trying not to sound like the Queen here,  I have a New Years message for the twins which is the premise of what I try and teach them every day. I tell them this:

1. Be grateful each and every day. You fought to be here and your life is enriched and fulfilled. Be grateful for the air in your lungs, the blood in your veins and although your bodies don’t work like everyone else’s, be grateful of every inch of you. You are perfection. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. Laugh a lot. Find the funny in each day. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Smiling is the key to getting through most difficult times.

3. Embrace everything you go through, however difficult. All these challenges and things you face make you who you are. They tell your story. Nothing worth having comes easy and mummy and daddy make decisions that aren’t always easy to understand. But we do that with love in our hearts, your best intentions and everything will be worth it. Work hard, play hard and reap the benefits of your efforts.

4. Believe in yourselves. Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Don’t think your disability is a barrier to doing what you want. Your disability may make things a challenge but you can be who you want to be. Take life by the horns and be your best self.

5. Be kind. Always. That speaks for itself.

6. Celebrate your beautiful differences. In a world of chocolate buttons, be a smartie.

7. Know that you are more than loved. You are cherished and adored. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the love of your family will encapsulate you so you are never alone.

I figure that we made it so far. This year brought us MRI scans, hip screws, surgery and hospital stays. It gave us decisions to make I didn’t see coming, new diagnosis and new medications. It gave us great Ormond street and bad news. It gave us good news and worrying results. It gave us a new car so Reuben became more independent. It gave us new hearing aids and splints.

It saw me lose a couple of friends, to realise that sometimes people are sent only to form a temporary fixture in your world. That’s life and life evolves. Yet, I made a couple of new awesome friends and cemented my love for the ones I hold so very close to my heart. It gave me my nephew!

It gave us the first time Zach read properly from a little book, and the first time he wrote his name. It gave us days out as a family in the sunshine. It gave me my family of 5 still going strong 💙 It DID NOT  give us the wheelchair he was prescribed FOUR YEARS AGO. It gave me the love I have to keep fighting for them.

We can carry on into the next year ahead – with the above guidelines we keep close to our chests, surely that will guide us on the right path? Only time will tell. We can’t stop time, we have to float along with it, facing whatever is thrown at us.

So armour on, buckle up – please 2017 be kind to us. At least if you throw me a curveball, give me a bloody big bat to try to hit it with.

This new year, I will raise my glass to all I love. I have a family who define the meaning of family. I have the best girl tribe you could ask for.

Whatever your tipple – whether that’s gin or ale, Fizz or tea, cheers to you. Happy New Year to anyone that may be reading this, may you be safe, happy and content in the year ahead.

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