November Caregiver of the Month – Kim J.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
“A Mom,” I would always answer.  I knew from a very young age that is what I wanted to be: a “Mom.”
I thought I had Life all figured out…
Tashina (‘Kitty’ is her preferred nickname) was born almost 42 years ago.  My life’s greatest blessing- a child. My daughter. My perfect child. My perfect life.
Just as I had envisioned it for all those years….
But our journey wasn’t going to be as I had envisioned.  “Cerebral Palsy” “Autism” “PDD” “Seizure disorder”.….. these were just a few of the words/terms that we would become very familiar with.
Through the years, there was so much to learn. An entire healthcare system to navigate. Special Education. Specialized medical care. Therapies.
A move to another state to receive much needed medical treatment. It was daunting. It was scary. It was difficult.
I would learn another word, “Advocate,” and become one.
Life was very different than I had envisioned, but Tashina began participating and competing in Special Olympics, going to community dances, developing friendships through school and her day programs…
Yes, Life was different than I had envisioned, but it was turning out good and I had been blessed! I was indeed blessed with the child who would teach me.
The child who would teach me to remember what is truly important in life.
I am in awe of her.  She treats everyone with kindness and caring.  She finds joy in everything- a butterfly fluttering by, the sound of birds chirping, her favorite Beatles song playing on the radio, discussing cats with anyone (cats are her passion).
She reminds me to slow down and pay attention to those small moments in life, the ones that escape without us noticing.
She shows me that no matter what challenges Life brings you…. there is joy to be found!
I am humbled to be acknowledged as a Caregiver, but it is my daughter who deserves the acknowledgement.
She is the one who has worked so hard to overcome life’s hurdles.  She is the one who is a living example of love, joy, kindness, and grace.
She is perfect!

Contributed by Kim Jones, Caregiver of the Month