Writing a New Chapter

my story

September has always been my favorite.

I celebrate with an extra glowing candle on my birthday cake, a school year full of possibility lies ahead, and trees dress up in the most perfect shade of yellow. 

September is also a month of change. New beginnings. Fresh starts. Sharpened pencils and clean, crisp notebooks. 

After a winter of awakening, a spring of sorrow, and an unscripted summer of adventuring with my boys, September 2018 had come. It was time to turn the page and begin writing a new chapter.

But I had no idea how to begin. 

I felt a calling to help those in need; and given my background, educational advocacy was a natural choice. But I had never formally represented a family before. Equally challenging, there isn’t an advocacy degree or a recognized certification program that exists in the field. Like a layer of fog obscuring the morning landscape, the journey before me was unclear. 

Lucky for me, my inner compass was working just fine.

It was strong, polished, and reliable thanks to the self-care I had been practicing. And so, I decided to let it guide me……

I took a part-time job as a Family Advocate, which would start the week my boys headed back to school. Not only would I get to help families with a wide range of needs, but also, I would gain firsthand experience as a special education advocate. This was an opportunity to learn my craft and hone my skills in real-time, by diving in and actually doing the work!  It was a baby step, but definitely in the right direction.

Now, when your dreams are REALLY big, it behooves you to spend time with other dreamers. When you’re being guided by a force greater than yourself, you’ll want to surround yourself with the highest vibe people you can find. And when you believe that you have gifts to share with the world, you’ll gravitate toward other luminaries. 

And that’s exactly what I did. 

I attended a conference in Philadelphia to celebrate some inspiring women, and the personal stories they contributed to a new book. As soon as I walked through the doors, I could feel the positive energy swirling. It was palpable.

The first activity was a guided meditation to help set our individual intentions for the weekend. The word CLARITY kept coming through for me. I was seeking confirmation that I was on the right path, and clarity about where it would lead. 

And this is when God stepped in.

Or the Universe, Creator, Higher Power, Jesus, Allah, Love, Holy Spirit, Mother Earth…..whoever you pray to and whatever you want to call him, her, or it. 

After a delicious day of pouring into myself with reiki, journaling, new connections, and thoughtful conversations, it happened.  I woke up at 5 am to a flood of images and ideas flashing through my brain……… I was going to write a book about special education advocacy. To be more precise, a series of three books! I saw my series title, book titles, and content with crystal clarity. I even had visions of the cover illustrations. The ideas flowed freely and easily. It was utterly surreal.

I have always fantasized about seeing my name printed on the cover of a book. I’ve envisioned myself standing in front of large audiences with a microphone in my hand, sharing knowledge and hope. And when I really let my imagination run wild, I’m sitting across the coach from Oprah with stars in my eyes! Up until then though, I had never been clear about my purpose or message. What topic could I write an entire book about, or deliver a meaningful speech about???

Clarity….what a gift.  

Upon reflection, it’s clear that the true genesis of this book came so much earlier. I believe it was a tiny seed of an idea, implanted in my DNA way back in the womb. It sprouted into a love of language and literature in my youth. It guided me to change my college major from Pre-Med to Special Education in my Sophomore year. It grew into an affection for the hundreds of students with unique learning needs that I taught, and their parents that I handed tissues to across the IEP table. It grew much deeper roots as a parent when I became the one asking for the tissues. And it blossomed into my mission in the magical year of 2018, when sparkly stars lit up a darkened sky, and I found the courage to follow their light…

What happens when you achieve clarity?

Elation, relief, gratitude, and confidence. In that order. You feel like you can take on the world, or even better, change it. A fire is ignited, fueled by the universe, and the flames are a thing of beauty. Pure. Passionate. Poetry.

When you’re a modern mama, wearing way too many hats for one precious head, you may lose sight of some important things. Namely, who you are and where you’re going. Of why you were placed on this big chunk of rock circling a star in the first place. But who has time to ponder philosophical questions like this when you have dental appointments to schedule, Dr. Seuss week outfits to coordinate, and a report due to your boss by the end of the day? And don’t forget to water the plants and file your taxes. And get to Barre class. And register for baseball.  And take Fido for a walk. And by all means, please snap a selfie! 

I’m fairly certain that the standard of motherhood that so many of us subscribe to, is simply not attainable. When I slowed down, stepped away from the noise, and honored myself, I was rewarded with clarity. I made the ultimate discovery, or shall I say, RE-discovery…me

The IEP Parent's Guide
to the BEST School Year EVER!

A month-by-month checklist of Best Practices 

This is the guide you need
to step up your advocacy game. 

Simple, monthly action steps to keep busy parents on track all year long.
*Relevant for all grade levels and disability categories.*