Looking back at 2023 I think I can say that it wasn’t that bad to us. The year started with the sadness of a loss in the family and there have been some illnesses for others as the year drew to an end. But the family members weren’t directly in our immediate circle. So as much as I experience the sadness and the worry of these events I feel like I have been more on the sidelines. We had quite a few mini adventures this year as we purchased Merlin Annual Passes. It was something that had been on my bucket list for quite a while. We also had a Disney adventure getting another chance to sail on the Disney Dream. We are hoping that 2024 will be a quieter year for us and also kind. Here are my highs and lows of 2023.
My Highs and Lows of 2023
1. What was your happiest event?
I think the thing that made me happiest in 2023 was getting to sail on the Disney Dream. It was our second time sailing on her, the first being a little stressful with Ethan getting ill and overcoming jetlag. We had four days just embracing the Disney magic on the ship. The children had pool days and we just switched off. I wish we had booked a longer sailing but the Bilbao cruise was perfect for our budget. Our mini break at Alton Towers was also really nice. We all enjoyed that one too, I think it was because it was a new theme park for us to visit as a family. I was a teenager when I last visited.
2. What was the saddest thing to happen?
I think the passing of my brother’s mother-in-law was the saddest thing to happen. I know some people might think it strange that I had a relationship with my brother’s mother-in-law but I knew her since I was about sixteen, if not before. I didn’t grieve like I did the passing of my dad but I still feel her loss. We also didn’t get to attend her funeral in person, which I will always be sad about. But my brother and his family understand the pressure that is on me when it comes to looking after my family’s needs.
3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?
When Ethan trapped his finger in the car door we were told he needed an operation. I never thought we would get through it. But we did with the help of some amazing NHS staff.
4. Who let you down?
I think Little E’s new school has let us down this year. She had some issues when she started there and some have continued. I feel they could help more but won’t.
5. Who supported you?
The children’s Nana and Pappy helped us when Ethan had his operation. They got to ours early to take Little E to school and kept things running whilst we were in survival mode going to the hospital appointments. My parents helped me juggle the children during the holidays along with one of the mums from Little E’s school.
6. Tell us what you learned?
Take life as it comes and try to enjoy the small moments.
7. Tell us what made you laugh?
I honestly don’t know if anything really made me laugh this past year. I feel sad saying that but I think we have just been plodding through the year. And there is nothing wrong with that. We must have laughed on our days out but no memories really stand out as laugh-out-loud moments.
8. Tell us the things that made you cry?
I shed tears for my mother-in-law’s passing. I also feel like I’m starting to get emotional watching some films and even adverts. I’m putting that down to age! There were no other real emotional moments, thankfully just plodding along.
9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud.
Ethan was amazing when he had to have the operation on his finger. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy, being autistic and pre-verbal will give you hurdles. But he did so well. I was running on adrenaline for a few weeks but it could have been so much worse than it was.
Little E’s clubs and after-school activities have had to change a bit towards the end of the year. She changed days, and groups and started new things and took it all in her stride.
When we were on the Disney Cruise Little E made friends. During our pool days, she would go on the AquaDuck with them as well as go and order her own food and get her own drinks. She has never really had the freedom to do that before on holiday and I was so proud of her. She really is growing up quickly.
10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.
I set myself the 2023 reading challenge. I wanted to show Little E that you can read for fun. I gave myself a goal of reading one book a month. I ended up reading twenty-two books in 2023. I have set myself the challenge to read thirty books in 2024.
11. Tell us the challenges you overcame?
The cost of living crisis did hit hard this year. Everything is so much more expensive but we made it through even if the credit card did have to come in handy.
12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2024.
I worry about my mortality quite a lot, the problems of being an autism mum! But I’m starting to feel really unfit and old. We used to go for lots of walks and I feel that has stopped since we moved. I would like us to walk more this year to get us out and about and increase our fitness levels. I don’t want to set unrealistic goals and I think regular walking is a good place to start.