Yesterday morning when Michael and I walked into church, I was immediately reminded that I was home with one of our three families. From the people who greeted, families that said hi, and the way I felt how we are accepted for all we are, that is unconditional love in its true form. Michael was having an argument with me about going to church. The mass is hard for him to sit through, but as I’ve mentioned before, Sunday school is still a little much for him. What he likes about church is the community aspect of it. Seeing the familiar people, faces. After all, since he was a baby and I realized that what I was lacking was community. And then when we realized Michael had autism, we needed to find our community. And we didn’t only find one. We found three. Church has always been one of them, and once they knew about Michael’s exceptional status, they continued to support and encourage, probably more than before. The other communities are our local special needs family center and Michael’s adapted school. This year they had him skating with a hockey stick!
I was just talking about this to a parent online yesterday, how important our three communities have been in mine, Michael’s and his Dad’s life. They have been the lifeline when I felt I couldn’t hold on, the people I still turn to first after immediate family, to share happy glorious moments, and the sad moments when I felt defeated as a Mom and human being. I also shared the in-between ones. Michael will ask why I cry or get emotional talking about these three communities. I tell him they are happy tears and they are. I am happy because I have found people, families with special needs kids and those without, who get it. They get our lives, our struggles. They not only do not judge, but accept us for all we are, as we do them. No one is perfect. I never feel alone anymore, and why I now want to give back, give back to the special needs community and families at large, is because of how fortunate our family has been in getting support and receiving help when we asked for it.
Exceptional Parents, who is part of your community? How many do you have? The number is not important. As long as you have your people, your tribe, who get you, your child, your family. You help them. They help you. You help each other. And you see the beauty of life and how working together brings unity of body, mind and spirit. I encourage you to reach out in whatever way you can in your community to find your support network. You and your family will be better for it. Until next time.