I love our house. Not just because it sits up on a hill – which it does – and not because it is overshadowed by a big black walnut tree – it is – and not because it has lots of windows which let in lots of natural light – it does – but I love it most of all because it houses the people I love most of all.  We have 6 bedrooms and 3 full baths, two kitchens, 3 refrigerators, a big yard with 4 sheds, and a jungle gym. We have 7 cars – most of them run – and bicycles, big wheels and scooters, oh, and two dogs and two cats.  And we are all very content here together. No we don’t spend time together every day, but we are here, accessible, available to assist and be there for each other if needed.

And that last part, that we are here if needed, is important in my family because 3 of the adults in our home are disabled.  Two physically with health problems, one with mental disabilities – including severe anxiety and PTSD – that often prevent him from being out in public or even being around family. So being there for each other becomes very important very fast when conditions are flaring or there are multiple medical appointments, which is often the case.

I strive hard for our lives not to revolve around the limitations illness and disability have brought to us, but instead to focus on the positives.  The conditions various members have are not as awful as they could be, no one is dying, no one is terminal, we have each other, and we look out for each other. Our home is warm in winter and cool in summer, there’s always food in the fridge – unless no one has felt like making a grocery store run – we have Wi-Fi and the world at our finger tips on our tablets, computers and cellphones. We have movies and entertainment, and most of all we have love.

I’m not saying it’s for everyone or that it’s perfect, it’s not. We have disagreements and we get on each other’s nerves, But for a woman (me) who clearly remembers the worst two years of her life from childhood – the years where everything and everyone she held near and dear changed or went away – keeping those she loves close to her – to me – makes all the difference and is so worth all the small minutiae and frustrations differing personalities bring to our home.

It’s easy to forget when we grumble about the small irritations that things can change in the blink of an eye, that what seemed so irritating can suddenly seem no more than a pebble in our shoe when illness, injury or loss occurs.  I tell everyone to stop and think before you complain because tomorrow you could be wishing you had back the noise, or the unwashed dishes in the sink, tomorrow you could be alone.

So welcome to our home, where family means everything.

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