Happy New Year!
This past year was one of a kind. The overwhelming feeling could be loss. It seems Granny’s broken hip in early January set the mood for the year and was a sign of things to come. We would have never ever guessed that we would lose two dear family members in 5 months. I’m still so sad for my mom who lost her identical twin. I’m sure the pain is nearly unbearable to her every moment of every single day. I’m sad for my cousins who lost their mother and their Nana, for my uncle who lost his wife, for Campbell and his brother who lost their mother, and for my children who lost a grandparent.
This year was also full of amazing things, though. We gained a huge family. I could have never imagined that our #goodonesfam would grow from 1800 in January to 23.6K in December! My world is changed forever. We have an amazing tribe; one who loves us, who is interested in our lives and wellbeing, and who lets us know we are making a positive difference in this world.
Aside from aforementioned loss, this has truly been one of the best years Jess and I have ever had. My friends have observed that I seem to be as happy as I have ever been. We seemed to have found our groove. Jess pointed it out best last week when she said, “Mama, why have I not been freaking out lately?” My answer reminded me of my nursing days:
- right medicine
- right dose
- right schedule
- right amount of sleep
MOMENTS THAT DEFINED OUR 2019
Autistic Interpretations had 1800 Good Ones. We didn’t know it, but a couple of things happened that month that changed our lives. Oddly enough, one thing had something to do with a couple of random posts I shared about partaking in a Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Organic Beer while watching football and wanting (begging) for someone to bring us a donuts delivery. The other significant event in January 2019 was that Granny (baddaddy’s mama) had a bad fall at home and broke her hip.
Our Good Ones numbers continued to climb into the 3,000’s. We thought that was pretty cool and were so happy that so many people were interested in Jessica’s story. That month, Granny was able to go back to her home to finish her rehab, Jess and I traveled to Knoxville, TN to work a couple of days, Jess got her first gift from a follower sent to our new PO Box, and Jess found out that her caregiver would be moving away.
We were thrilled to reach 5,000 Good Ones! Hannah and I talked for days leading up to that about creating a cute video to celebrate. In reality, the timing was off. We went with real life and did the best we could to announce and celebrate our milestone with a few balloons and party hats.
March was a tough month for Jess. She was desperately missing spending time with Granny. In addition, Jess was already starting to be sad about her caregiver moving out of town. Jessica’s self-harm habit of skin picking really got cranked up.
Jess got her first water game, Hydrostrike, sent to her PO from a good one. She and Hannah had an absolute blast playing that evening. Also in March, formerly referred to as “baby daddy” rejected that label and was forevermore dubbed “#baddaddy”.
Oh, and I almost forgot. At the end of March, I turned 50!
On April 1, we had 6,500 Good Ones, and by April 18, we had 8,000! What was happening?!
In April, tragedy struck. A beloved family member, Nonnie’s twin sister, very suddenly passed away from a brief illness. The whole family was in complete shock, including Jess who felt immense sadness and empathy for her Nonnie’s second loss of a sister. Jess said to me, “I’m so sad that Nonnie doesn’t have any sisters anymore.”
April was the time for Jess to get a much needed haircut. We talked, prepped, planned… and it went terribly. Also in April, for a belated 50th birthday present, my amazing brother took me to Chicago to see Hamilton. I was so blown away at the generosity and opportunity. It was my first visit to Chicago, and it was fantastic.
On May 7, our Good One count had reached 9,400. It was unreal! Hannah met a major milestone in May when she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Valdosta State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in American Sign Language/English Interpreting. After graduation, Hannah, Jess, Baddaddy, and I celebrated the achievement at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida. With the help of our followers, we were able to reach our goal to reach 10,000 Good Ones by the end of our last day at Disney. Woohoo!
Sometime in June, our number reached 12K. Granny was getting around much better and Jess was going one or two days a week for 2 or 3 hours at at time. Jess was so happy to get back into that routine. Also in June, Jess got to go to Keely’s house for the day… talk about a happy girl!! We reached another milestone in June. We held our very first live stream! The participation by Good Ones was fantastic and we had a blast.
July was a busy month! We started the month with a road trip to Charleston, SC to visit Madison and Sarah. I captured the cutest video of Madison walking Jess through the grocery store looking for ice cream to buy, of Hannah pretending to cry, and of a great #badone banter between Jess and baddaddy. Also in July, Jess had lots of Granny days as Granny continued to build her strength and mobility.
In our family, July means birthdays. Jess and multiple cousins have July birthdays. We went for a pool party for Graeme’s 5th birthday. Then, Jess got an inflatable pool for her birthday. We spent the rest of the summer and much of the Fall having pool days. Jess absolutely loved it.
In August, our Good Ones count reached 15k. Hannah got her first full-time job as an ASL Interpreter at an elementary school. She loves her work. Jess and I headed out for our annual summer family trip to the mountains. This summer, we tent camped with my brother and sister-in-law. We all did a lot of tubing on the creek. Jess is a huge fan of tubing! For the first time, I introduced the portable potty concept since Jess and I have a roomy tent. It was life-changing in terms of cutting out night time excursions to the bathhouse. This success will definitely impact our decision to camp in the future.
We would have never imagined that September would bring more family tragedy. On September 7, Granny called Baddaddy and said that she needed to go to the ER because she hadn’t been able to catch her breath all day. They told her that she had acute heart failure and she was admitted for treatment. The treatment was not successful because by September 10, she was in total renal failure.
I arranged for a quick trip for Jess to go see Granny. Jess and Granny neither one understood that the outlook was grim. They talked about what they were going to do when she got home from the hospital. Jess is perceptive though, and her body and face gave away her worry and concern.
Granny passed peacefully in the early morning of September 11. My heart was and still is broken for Jess. I was the one to tell Jess the news when she woke up the next morning. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to tell her. Initially, Jess handled the news amazingly, probably because she was in shock. It seemed to be a few weeks before it really hit her hard. Since then, she has cried and cried and cried. She’s still trying to process what happened and continues to ask hard questions: why, who told her she was going to heaven, what does kidney failure mean, what time did she die, did she know she was going to heaven?
Jess misses Granny every single day. They talked on the phone every day including the days that Jess was going over to see her. For the last five years, Jess was over at Granny’s house visiting about 8 days a month. This has left a huge empty space in Jessica’s world.
We had the warmest October ever. Jess was still having daily pool days. I, for one, was counting down the days until cooler weather arrived. When it did, Jess and I went on a field trip to a pumpkin farm and went on a hay ride to pick out a pumpkin. The best part about October? A vacation to Disney World! Baddaddy, Jess and I had a great vacation.
After Disney, we headed to the Pinellas County Animal Shelter so that Jess could listen to their dogs bark. It’s hard to explain, but she is obsessed with this shelter and has been wanting to do that forever. The visit ended up being much shorter than expected because the smell of the shelter was more than Jess could tolerate. I fulfilled a promise though, and have no regrets about the extra driving to accommodate that wish of Jessica’s.
The focus of November was studying for nursing. Jess and baddaddy spend a lot of time reading about nursing. Jess has also vastly increased her collection of playing cards and spends a lot of time going through looking at all of the different decks that she has accumulated. Thanksgiving came and went with lots of emotion and tears for many of us experiencing the first big holiday after losing a loved one. Jess was particularly emotional for days leading up to it, and then spent most of Thanksgiving Day clinging to me for comfort.
Our December seemed to be defined by our very questionable decision to do a Vlogmas series of videos. The goal was to do a vlog and post on YouTube every day leading up to Christmas. As soon as we started, it was a tremendous amount of work – way more than Hannah and I anticipated – and it felt all-consuming. We didn’t quite make it to Christmas Day, but I think we did pretty good considering. Next year, we may try vlogmas again, but maybe for a week instead of a whole month.
December means a visit from our friend Keely, something that Jess looks forward to all year long. Jess does a lot of tree decorating at Christmastime and has her own tree at my house, her dad’s house, and Nonnie & Granddad’s house. Jessica’s favorite ornaments are balls. I was worried about Christmas being emotional like Thanksgiving. However, Jess seemed much stronger at Christmas. One day, she told me that she missed Granny, but she was also happy about Christmas and that was okay.
Also in December, Jess gained a new full-time caregiver, Marlow. It took us about 8 months to replace the previous caregiver, so it is going to be great to get back to some better schedules. Marlow also happens to be Hannah’s best friend who just moved back to town after having lived elsewhere for the last 5 years.
Welcome! I am Val. My adult daughter Jess and I live together and have a loving and fun relationship. We share our daily adventures, travels, struggles, and the strong loving village that surrounds us.
WHAT DOES JESSICA SEE?
HAS JESS ALWAYS TALKED
WHO IS KEELY?
DO WE HAVE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL?
WHAT IS THE LINK TO PATREON?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
VAL’S 2020 GOALS
- EAT CLEAN
- INCREASE EXERCISE
- DEVELOP CONSISTENT BLOG POST SCHEDULE
- REDESIGN AUTISTICINTERPRETATIONS.COM
- TRAVEL ONCE A MONTH
COMING IN 2020
If there was one overarching message from 2019, it was to keep working hard, reach for hopes and dreams, and most of all, expect the unexpected.
I feel excitement for 2020. Good things are happening and Jess and I want to roll with it. We have some adventures in the planning phase. Not only are local attractions and events on our agenda, but also out of town travel including reaching the following states this year: Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Colorado. If we can figure out a way, we would like to visit many other places far and wide to do some meet & greets with our #goodonesfam.
Also in 2020, Jess and I will be doing a patron sponsored lunch of the month video series. Once a month, we will visit a restaurant that we haven’t been to before, and afterwards we will rate the restaurant on a Jessica scale that has yet to be determined. We are looking forward to fine tuning the details and getting started on this in January.
Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for following along in our journey! We enjoy sharing our joyful life with you all and love knowing all of the various ways our story and videos help others.
Happy New Year! We wish for you to have a great 2020!
FOR YOUR CALENDAR
JAN 7 – Livestream
JAN 12 – Baddaddy’s Birthday
JAN 14 – Members Only Live
JAN 21 – Livestream
JAN 28 – Nonnie’s Birthday
JAN 30 – Members Only Live
FEB 3 – Hannah’s Birthday
FEB 4 – February Edition “Watch It, Watch It!”
If you like what we are doing at Autistic Interpretations and would like to contribute, please check out our Patreon page at https://patreon.com/autisticinterpretations.
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