Meaningful Milestone

May 16, 2024

Our son, Andrew, came home last weekend to visit. And because we live near the ocean, we made a trek to the beach. I was reminded once again that just like the tide, life truly ebbs and flows.

You see, I used to dread going to the beach. Up until very recently, beaches weren’t very wheelchair-accessible. People often stared at us and sometimes offered to help, but I didn’t want to need their assistance. Given Andrew’s physical limitations, I always had to accompany him in the water, which made me the lone adult in a sea of children, while other parents relaxed in the sand with a cool drink and a good book. The whole experience made me feel different, inadequate, and grumpy. And also very very, very tired.

Last week was delightfully different. Once I noticed this, I literally couldn’t stop smiling. What a day! Children and adults admired Andrew’s beach wheelchair, eagerly asked him questions, and naturally engaged in meaningful conversation. Andrew reclined in his chair under an umbrella, listening to music on his headphones. Peaceful and content, I worked through a novel and even attempted to nap. We talked as adults about topics of substance, like singer Tony Bennett’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, which my own father succumbed to nearly a decade ago. We got in and out of the water with ease, thanks to Andrew’s fabulous Mobi-chair. And we both felt refreshed and relaxed when we finally headed home to shower and prepare for a family cookout. Lots of smiles all around.

Sun, sand and smiles!

My father’s friend used to say “it was no day at the beach” whenever he described a challenging time. I’ve definitely had plenty of those. In fact, if you’d told me when my dad was alive ten years ago that my day at the beach last week would be so delightful, I never would have believed you. I would have felt that you simply don’t understand how challenging it can be. But I know you do. And I’m grateful that it isn’t always. And I’m basking in that feeling, right now, along with the sunshine and togetherness that a day at the beach can bring bring.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. "Today's a crap day," is a perfectly realistic approach. It's all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it's raining outside: it isn’t my fault and there's nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”

— Stephen Fry

Marking a milestone.

Today’s issue is the 100th volume of Another Normal. And something I never envisioned when I started writing this newsletter back in June, 2020. For the past three years, I have worked to collect and share free information, resources and perspective from our family and others to support young people with disabilities and help them “learn to bloom.” Not expecting it to have lasted this long, I certainly have learned a lot along the way. For starters:

  • People everywhere are hungry for help with this journey.

  • People without disabilities yearn for ways to support and include others in their communities.

  • So many folks are open to new ideas and ways of thinking about ability, advocacy, inclusion and progress.

  • This community has become a place where ideas are shared, families are inspired, and success is celebrated.


Moving forward, I plan to keep offering Another Normal free of charge, and to highlight success stories, personal insights, guest features, and news on topics that matter to young people with disabilities and their families. I’ll also continue to solicit input from readers about what you want more info on, what your biggest concerns are, and where you’re finding the most support and guidance on your journey to raise strong, happy kids.

I will post several times each month, but am also working hard these days to develop other helpful tools. My upcoming book on resilience and families with disabilities should be available by the end of 2023. And I’m developing a comprehensive on-line program for parents, guardians, employers and service providers, as well. I couldn’t be more excited about these projects and am so thankful to all of you who have contributed to this work. Stay tuned for future updates here.

Until then, please know how grateful I am to you for reading, commenting, e-mailing, and encouraging this undertaking. I so appreciate your sharing this newsletter with others who may benefit from it, too.

Share Another Normal

As we press ahead, it’s very rewarding to know that hundreds of readers from across the U.S. are being encouraged and supported by Another Normal. What was once just a way to pass the pandemic has truly become a passion. Thanks for staying in touch and helping us help each other.

What matters to you?

Please leave a comment below to let me know why you read this newsletter and how it helps you and those you care about. Thanks, as always, for sharing your perspective.


Cooking up fun.

Does summertime allow you more time in the kitchen, experimenting with new foods and life skills? Then check out The Autism-Friendly Cookbook by Lydia Wilkins. “With autistic people at its heart, the book contains helpful tips and advice for parents and teachers looking to find out more,” along with quick and easy recipes that are both fun and flavorful.

man in blue dress shirt sitting beside woman in gray shirt

Is heading out for a summer hike more appealing than cooking up fun in the kitchen? This recent New York Times article spotlights accessible paths, trails and overlooks from coast-to-coast. As this PBS story explains, it’s work worth undertaking.

Loud and proud.

I love this article on the importance of self-advocacy. It’s a vital skill for all kids, and especially those with special needs that people sometimes misinterpret or fail to understand. Included are a few key tips that apply to all ages and excellent food for thought — no matter what age.

girl standing near plants

Interested in learning more about one-to-one coaching? Contact Kris for information on what this might look like for you, including outcomes, availability, fees and more.

Contact Kris

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