For many people Thanksgiving will look a lot different this year as the state has issued guidance for gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without a doubt this has been a year like no other, but since I can remember Thanksgiving has always been a time to take time to remember what you are thankful for. In keeping with tradition, I want to take the time to appreciate, and be thankful for, everyone who has worked to so hard to maintain an ever changing and challenging system of system of support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the state. It has been very difficult for some individuals with IDD, families, direct support professionals, service providers, and others to navigate the restrictions and changes to daily life. I have, and continue to be, amazed at the human spirit, the love, kindness, and generosity that people are showing one another right now. Over that last 8 months I have watched people come together and support each other in different ways, and for that I am so thankful.
I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to think about what you are thankful for. I also want to share a few things I am thankful for this year. I am thankful for the things below and so much more:
My family who took such good care of me when I got sick, and over the months have volunteered to deliver food and personal protective equipment to people in need.
The zoom meetings hosted by various self-advocates and their willingness to share their feelings as well as support their friends as they struggle through a wide range of feelings.
The direct support professionals who are working day and night – often double shifts – to ensure that health and safety of the individuals they support.
The strength of the families that never ceases to amaze.
The innovation and creativity in micro-enterprise – a young man I know has created a business delivering fun holiday themed snacks to people at their homes. I was a lucky and thankful customer during Halloween when he dropped off the snacks in costume – made my day for sure!
The service providers who did whatever it took to adapt services to meet the needs of the people they support.
All my colleagues who laugh at my terrible zoom jokes, share virtual happy hours with me, and work together with me on such critical and meaningful issues.
Thank you to everyone who has inspired me to see the good an appreciate the human spirit in such an uncertain time. I appreciate all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!