Above all, I believe in the power of change. Change surrounds us. Our bodies are created of change. Every minute that time passes implies an infinite number of changes to our bodies, our cells, our growing and aging process. Some change is wonderful. I marveled at watching my sons grow from skinny little kids to tall, strong teenagers .At the same time I watched my hair turn gray and welcomed this change in myself, if not with joy, with the satisfaction of entering a new stage in life.
My life has been surrounded by change. I left my birth country of Mexico for an education in the United States and adopted this country as my own. As a high school student in the 1980’s I became a young republican under the influence of President Reagan, only to go through a transformation in College and become an independent and in my 30’s a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. I studied Medieval History to end up dropping out of law school to become a helicopter pilot, to then become a mother, to then run a school.
Not all change has been good. Divorcing my children’s father after 12 years of struggle was not welcome change but necessary change. The kind of change that requires a loss to then find transformative power. A time of crisis must and should become a time of opportunity. Out of the ashes of a marriage, I found the depth of my strength, and the hope of a new love. Change once again came knocking at my door, as I found love in a woman this time. From married woman, to divorced woman, to gay woman, my children and my family, followed in my change, if not with complete acceptance, with acquiescence to the inevitability of the passing of time and the change that comes with it.
The best changes are the ones where one risks and receives the rewards. My oldest son was diagnosed with Autism at age 2. I was told he would never speak more than 20 words, ride a bicycle or be able to live independently. My reluctance to believe in a predetermined destiny, for above all I believe in change, allowed me to take an uncommon path with Paul. While doing many of the traditional therapies with him, I refused to limit his life. We traveled with Paul, we exposed him to bicycles and motorcycles and everything else I could think of. By the time he was 6, he was speaking and I formed a school that integrated typical learners with children with learning disabilities. Paul and his brother were at that school until they graduated in middle school. Today, Paul is finishing his Junior year at a college preparatory school, getting ready to apply to colleges, he has his driver’s license, travels across the country on his own, rides not only a bicycle but also motorcycles and this summer did his solo flight in a helicopter! Transformative changes too place in Paul’s brain as he grew and learned. Technological changes have made it possible for Paul to function in a regular school setting. Speech recognition software, books on tape, and scanners compensate for his severe dyslexia and disgrahia. Also, societal changes took place, which created a world where Paul’s intelligence is recognized in spite of the many disabilities he faces. Most of us teach our children kindness and acceptance of differences, which has allowed Paul to form deep-life long friendships.
Not particularly inclined to any from of spirituality and raised in home where religion was talked about in the same terms that one would discuss politics, economics, history or vacations, I developed a humanistic approach to life from a young age. Finding what I believe in has been a life long pursuit. For now, for today, for most of my life, I can say that I believe in change but because I believe in change, this belief might also change with time, and I will welcome it, as I welcome any change in life, with marvel, a bit of apprehension, but endless wonder.