This year has been a hard one for our family, big changes came with big challenges, much of which we are still unfolding. My girls sometimes worry that we are unique in the current unrest of our home, that the waves of emotions and truthful uncertainties are not something that is felt within the homes of their friends families. The truth is, it is more likely closer to what is real than the idea of ‘happily ever after’ is in many ways. We are forever unfolding and growing into ourselves and if we get too caught up in things that don’t matter for long enough, we can lose sight of what truly does, even with the ones we love the most. It is important for them not to be too sheltered from life’s pains. If we protect and hide what is real, what is raw and true, we teach them to only know life as an all encompassing wonderful. And life is wonderful but it can also be equally devastating and no one is immune to feeling some sort of devastation at some time in their lives. We need our children to be aware of this, we need to them to grow with resilience, so when life imposes hard challenges upon them, they will know that it is alright to hit the ground. It is alright to feel hard pain. It isn’t a sign of a weakness or a betrayal of a story that they have been living, there is no shame, no need to hide or mask what is real for them in that moment. They need to understand that life moves around and around, and the hardest of moments will pass, we will circle up again. Staying true takes bravery. Staying true, doesn’t always mean that there is an absence of love. Love can be very present and it’s a difficult challenge to go on loving another without an idea of what the story is really meant to look like. Life and love are messy, children do complicate relationships, it takes a deep kind of honesty to be able to understand and often admit such inclinations. I would rather my children know that they wont be saved from never feeling pain in their relationships, that having children will challenge them in ways that they could never imagine. Parenting, is tricky. Autism is a blessing and a heartache. There is subtleties, that only you as a parent can recognise, the struggles and misunderstandings, confusions and frustrations. It’s almost impossible to completely understand, and as a parent you carry a certain kind of worry that is unique only to them. These honest challenges have put a strain on our family, and we are all still trying to find our grounding. I am hopeful that we are on our way up again. I have let go of any ideas of what I thought we were meant to be and are allowing life to honour us with what we are instead. I have surrendered, and relaxed into the truth and I know happiness will flow through our doors once again, sometime soon. This past year we have shared many, many tears and have experienced more than our fair share of temper tantrums from toddlers, teenagers and an overloaded mother. But as a family we have triumphed life with our spirits, love and acceptance of what is. In all our uncertainties that we have been presented with, we are settled in the knowing that we are a strong tribe and we will be alright, no matter what life bestows upon us next.