I’ve been spending the last month on a little bit of an emotional roller coaster. When I’m at home, spending time with my family, in our typical “routines”, everything feels OK. However, when I try to be a part of our community…and try to fit into the mold of society, I can become almost panic stricken and overly emotional.
My husband pointed out that it is easy to forget the many ways that Eddie is different within our own lives. When we are confronted with the lives of many other families, and try to be a part of their world, Eddie’s differences seem exponentially bigger.
Lately, for the sake of my own sanity, I’ve been seeking out people that get it. This can mean special education teachers, teachers of the visually impaired, and pediatric therapists. All of those have been people I’ve relied on, but the best resources I’ve found by far are moms like me.
This really struck home when I was invited to attend a dinner with other moms that had special needs kids. Our children all had different disabilities, but we could still relate on every level. We talked about school struggles, and recent doctor appointments. We even laughed sharing ridiculous potty training stories.
Things that many women would cringe about…we were perfectly comfortable sharing. I left that dinner feeling very happy to meet these women…and then cried most of the way home. Why did I cry? I have no idea…but I felt better for it; almost like it was just needed.
Last weekend, I had the chance to attend a parent workshop sponsored by AFB and NAPVI (the co-sponsors of FamilyConnect). This event wasn’t nearly as emotional, but equally fulfilling. It was a chance to be around other families like mine, to make new acquaintances, and to be among what I now feel are “my people.”
Eddie had a complete meltdown when we arrived, and I wasn’t sure I could get him through the door. I was hoping I’d get to show him off, but instead he was screaming bloody murder in the parking lot. I decided that instead of crying myself, I’d accept the humor in the situation. I couldn’t help but laugh, and walked into the room knowing that in this place I would find acceptance; because these were “my people.”
Finally, this evening, I had a wonderful phone conversation with a mom who has a child just like mine. Because of that, she has fears just like me. She has doubts just like me. She also has shared the same dreams I once had, but have now realized weren’t meant to be. Above all else, she loves her child, no matter how difficult they are…just like me.
These people that I surround myself with whenever I can, not only have walked in my shoes, but they have the same pair. My family and friends give me love, that I also need desperately, but they can’t always understand the ups and downs of raising a child who is visually impaired and…
That’s why I cling to places like FamilyConnect, and other resources online. There are some great Facebook pages, and connections on Twitter that I have come across. I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t found. We could all use more people in our lives…especially people that get it.