At first Michael’s adapted extra curricular activities of swimming, soccer/sports, as well as social groups, were a way to help him develop more fully and to occupy him, while giving me a bit of a Mommy break. But especially over the course of the last two years, these groups and activities have become my social haven and support network of friends as much as they have become Michael’s. His Dad now takes him alone to his weekend activities when I am working. I see my husband having this same support network of friends. He tells me how he chats with the other parents, and he fills me in on the happenings in our ‘exceptional community.’ These activities have truly been a godsend for our entire family, giving us all a chance to connect with like minded children and adults, and to share our struggles in a place where everyone “gets it.” In this community no one judges us or our choices. It helps us truly see we are not alone. Michael, always social, has become even more so due to these activities. He wants to go places, do things, is excited about change in a way he never was before. Yes, he still gets overwhelmed if there is too much coming at him, but he is eager and excited to explore the world around him. This is something I never dreamed possible when he was younger. I am forever grateful that we are all growing together in this way.
As a bonus, the people we have met on our journey, the teachers, assistants, coordinators of these programs, have also become an extended part of our family, some of them eventually transitioning to our babysitters/mother’s/father’s helpers for Michael. I no longer worry about burning out. I know, besides my family, I have the exceptional community family always there to lend a hand and help. It has made a world of difference in trying moments.
Are your exceptional children involved in activities that you see have benefited you as much as them? Exceptional Moms, do you see your own growth as a human being due to the people you have met through these organizations? These are people many of us probably would never have met had circumstances been different with our children. Now, they are often our lifelines as we are theirs. Treasure these relationships and let them help you grow more as a person each day. Until next time.