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Hope for the New Year

As I sing the tune to “Whistle While You Work” which just played on my son’s DVD I see his ebullient smile as he gifts me with his gaze, and as I wrap him tightly in his towel I pull him in closer for a hug. These precious moments of connection have been fleeting in the last few weeks as Justin, my severely autistic teenager, has been having seizure-like episodes, black holes in time that rob him of affect and joy for minutes at a time. I believe his neurologist is doing all he can to remedy the situation, and in the past few days I’ve allowed myself hope that the new medication we’ve put him on may be kicking in.

I’m pulling out the prayers on this one.

Until recently I felt like we were having “first world autism problems” with Justin. Not too long ago I had the BCBA from his school do a house call to help me foster independence with chores like dressing, brushing teeth, etc. Then October hit and all my fancy New Year’s resolutions of raising the bar on what my boy can do for himself have flown out the window.

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Quite frankly now I’m just focusing on getting back my boy.

I take those New Year’s resolutions seriously when things are going well, craft a half dozen of them for each of my sons, and realistically know I’ll probably only get to half of them before the year is through. It is important to me to always look to the future for them both, to anticipate their needs, to not just focus on the endless cycle of homework/horseback riding/karate/church that seems to take up so much of our time. And while it’s been a year for struggle chez McCafferty, what with almost losing our house to fire on the 4th of July and watching my eldest struggle these past few months, I still have hopes for 2018, and I will share them here with you.

I have hope that Justin’s team of dedicated doctors will find a solution to this latest challenge in his world and will be able to bring him relief.

I have hope that he will continue to love his life.

I have hope that my youngest will start doing his chores without my having to harass him (this may be our biggest struggle).

I have hope that my eldest’s hard-won words will keep flowing in 2018 and beyond.

I have hope that their father and I will continue to turn to one another for strength.

I have hope that my youngest will continue to revel in the joys of friendship.

I have hope that our government will make our community a priority.

I have hope the new year will bring peace, hope and fun to all our family and friends.

I have hope the world will look on autistic people not just with acceptance, but with admiration for all of their struggles and successes.

I have hope that whatever challenges this family faces in the future, I will still keep hope alive.

Happy New Year to all!

For more on my family visit my blog at

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist


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