Happy New Year.
I know I’m officially two days late (three, if you subscribe to the blog by email), but nevertheless.
2012 being an Olympic/Paralympic year, it goes with saying that the London Games is a recurring theme in this post – particularly given how they highlighted both the significant contribution to the best of Britain made by talented people with disabilities (sportsperson and performer alike) and the savage cuts Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne and his Cabinet members made to vital disability benefits (rather unexpectedly it seems, judging by this footage of a nervous Osbourne being booed at a Paralympic medal ceremony. Does this deserve inclusion in the top ten? To save the Tories further (non-)embarrassment, I won’t).
Funnily enough, the Olympic and Paralympic Games dovetailed neatly with the surges in progress that Isobel made as 2012 went on – sometimes to medal-winning effect – and the effort N put into his own fundraising walk. For that reason, they all make the top ten.
Of course – let’s not forget – Benedict met his own developmental milestones throughout, and should be included, too; more so than the new strides I’ve made of my own in the world of work, including getting published in The Huffington Post and freelance opportunities materialising here and there – although my film directorial debut, CODA, does make an appearance.
So without further fanfare – and in no particular order of importance; they all count as my favourites – I give you my top ten moments of 2012.
1. Isobel takes her first steps. Despite the nay-saying of her OT mere days before, those darling legs of hers took on a life of their own. Even better, she’s now practising with a specialist walker. Watch the video below for more confident strides.
2. …and wins an Olympic-style medal for her ‘rowing’ challenge at PACE’s Children’s Challenge event – not to mention getting Highly Commended for the Pride in Aylesbury Vale Child of Courage Award. Enough said.
3. Ben learns to use his walker for the first time. He’d just turned 13 months, and up to this point hadn’t yet upgraded from crawling. He’s now going up and down stairs on a regular basis – and has discovered the pencil.
4. N completes a 21-mile trek as part of a team of 21 walkers along the Chiltern Ridgeway in aid of PACE. His ardour helps the charity beat their 2012 Gold Challenge target with £101,148 in their 21st year.
6. Oscar Pistorius makes history as the first double-amputee to compete on the Olympic track. So what if he didn’t make the men’s 400m final? He competed fair and square. His participation alone is another step towards disability equality.
7. Isobel sees Ben as a new incentive for play. The touching moment when I witnessed the big sister making her first, very real, effort to interact with her baby brother.
8. Jenny Sealey, co-director of the bombastic Paralympic Opening Ceremony and Artistic Director of Graeae, wins the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award. Proof that the arts can be an effective means of asserting human rights.
9. Just two months after my cochlear implantation, I distinguish individual singing voices for the first time. Does it matter that I was watching YouTube videos? I could never manage this in my entire life with analogue hearing aids – and I preferred those to their digital counterparts.
10. CODA is screened in an international mainstream film festival for the first time. The European Film Festival in Miami, no less. And in competition with nine other film shorts selected from across the globe too. (I’m the third entry in the list.)
WordPress has kindly compiled an annual review, too, for this blog; check it out for the most-viewed posts of 2012 amongst other interesting statistics.
Here’s to (hopefully) a better year in 2013.