If 2014 was the year of crying (often) and lying (“I’m fine”), then 2015 was the year of healing and dealing.
But in 2015 we learned to heal. We learned to give ourselves love. We learned to broaden the definitions of people and of labels. We learned, slowly, to love God again and to even, gingerly, seek meaning in our suffering.
We learned so much about Asperger’s and more, about our son. We could even begin to joke and laugh about the situation, and even, incredibly, to give others hope. We learned that maybe regular school and regular camp are not ideals to hope for but messy experiments to learn from. We came to see that hope is there, even when it seems to have gone into permanent hiding.
Most importantly, we came to know that what we thought, hoped, expected for our child, and what was the right thing for him were often radically different, and that that was OK.
We began to gently move out of panic mode and back into the saddle. We homeschooled. Got a dog. Taught our son to explain to others what he likes and dislikes. To self-advocate. Raised some skills and ignored others. Rewarded behaviors we used to treat as “shoulds.”
We loved ourselves a lot. With mini-getaways, and retail therapy. With chocolate and ice cream just because. With long walks alone and special time with other kids.
2015 was also a fun year here at OOTOB.
I wrote 28 posts in 2015, which is only 2 or 3 a month. That’s OK. These days I write when the muse hits. I’m busy with other writing projects. My book is out and will be in Israel stores this or next week, and in American stores in 2 weeks. I’m having some copies shipped to my house from Israel and am anxiously awaiting their arrival!
My most-read post this year was Are We Still a Light Unto the Nations? Gosh, that one was controversial. I got some pushback about posting it, too – like if I want to create change in the religious world, I should publish something like this in the religious world and not air dirty laundry in public. Trust me, I get that. I actually didn’t think this was dirty laundry. I think our own serious introspection and willingness to call out racism and hypocrisy is clean laundry. But the line is a fine one.
Right on its heels was #2 post, How to Make Awesome Challah. That one took me awhile to write, what with all the photos and such. But man, it was fun.
The post with the most comments (44) was My Story, where I questioned my previously-held habit of presenting my faith in solely positive terms. The response to that post jump-started my effort to create a book with my back-posts, including my retrospective commentary (I’m 1/4 through).
My least popular post? 200K4JFX, wherein I solicit you all for our one-day fundraising campaign. No surprises there! We met our goal, by the way, so thanks to all of you who participated.
But one of the coolest blog things that happened this year was the time I got an email from a non-Jewish woman in a remote state who was hosting Orthodox friends for a wedding over the weekend and wanted to know what she could do to make them comfortable with Shabbat and kosher et al. I called her and walked her through it. She and I were both amazed at how technology put us together! It was truly a special opportunity.
L’chaim, 2015. Welcome, 2016! May it be a great one!