by Colleen Berlingieri
Everyone has their favorite traditions. One of mine is decorating the house for Christmas. I love putting on some holiday music, grabbing a cup of coffee and going through the boxes that my boys have brought up from the basement. Then I spend the next couple of hours putting away my everyday decorations and putting up my Christmas ones.
This year, as I was going about my usual routine, I began to notice – really notice – all of the beautiful things in my home. Everywhere I looked I saw flashes of creativity and joy! There were bright colors, and a myriad of shapes.
In the living room, three Gerbera daisies sat jauntily in a beautiful vase covered in decoupage. A hand-painted wooden treasure box sat open on one of the end tables revealing its’ collection of delicate seashells. And on one wall there was a beautiful abstract watercolor with bold strokes of black & red that are reminiscent of an ancient Japanese silk.
I have acquired these pieces of art over the years and each one of them was designed by very talented one-of-a-kind artists. Am I an art collector? No. Am I wealthy? No.
Better than that – I am a Special Needs Mom and my collection is priceless.
As I took the time to appreciate the different pieces scattered here and there around the room, I realized that I was surrounded on all sides by inspiration and beauty and that I am truly blessed. I have not only had the good fortune of acquiring these masterpieces but more importantly, I have had the privilege of knowing the artists themselves. I have seen children who struggle with writing their own name create magic with oil pastels. I have instantly understood the meaning of a painting created by an individual who is speech impaired.
For a population of people who valiantly struggle every day to be “typical”, art is FREEDOM. Freedom to express what is inside of them with no barriers and freedom to celebrate who they are and how they see the world without any physical, intellectual or emotional limitations. Art has no rules and you most certainly DO NOT have to color inside the lines!
As I took a sip of my coffee, I drew in a deep calming breath and let it out slowly. I realized that my annual tradition of decorating had been transformed into so much more. It had become a true celebration of beauty, joy and the possibilities that are hidden in each and every one of us.
I wish all of you and your loved ones many blessings this holiday season and throughout the year to come.
Colleen Berlingieri is a Mom, & Disability Advocate . She lives in Plymouth Michigan with her husband Tony, her two sons, (Geo & Jake), & their rescue dog Andi. Their family owns the FATWHEELS brand that makes adaptive training wheels that enable individuals with balance issues to ride a typical bike. Colleen’s dedication to raising her family & empowering individuals with disabilities is her life’s work and the driving force behind her company & all that she does .