People need people.
I know this all too well. In fact, I’m kind of a support group junkie.
I love finding others, connecting with them, supporting them & getting comfort in return. I really don’t know where I’d be without the different circles of friends and family that help me as I stumble through life.
I feel lucky to have people in every aspect: my flesh & blood family, my best & oldest friends, my gym friends, my fellow police wives, my fellow blogging moms, my work family.
Lately, there has been a circle of friends that has really stuck out to me. I didn’t even realize how deeply I needed them until last weekend.
Can you guess who they are? I’ll give you a hint:
I became a part of this exclusive club the day that my daughter was diagnosed with an extra chromosome. Yes – I was officially a Special Needs Mom.
I had joined a community of people that are so supportive and so understanding, that I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.
The Down syndrome community is vast and there are endless resources. I have connected with many unbelievable families that are located all around the world. However, there is something different about having people in your own backyard.
Kara & I go to her group therapies once a week where we’ve gotten to know and love a handful of other families in our area. Kara has learned LOTS from her peers and I have learned even more from the other moms.
-gluten free recipes
-names of specialists
-tips for hospital tests
They’ve also taught me…
-to think outside the box
-to laugh at myself
-to trust my instincts
-to practice open-mindedness
-to practice patience
-to stand up for what I believe in
-that I’m never alone
The most important thing that this amazing group of women has provided for me is an outlet and a sense of normalcy.
When I’m with them, I’m not the odd one out. Nor is Kara. I’m not the only one who can’t stop talking about Down syndrome or the day that we got our diagnosis. I’m not alone in wanting to talk about inclusion or how we can change the way that a doctor presents a Down syndrome diagnosis. I’m not the only one who wants to cry when I hear the word “retard”. I’m not the only one desperate for awareness and a more accepting world.
When I’m with these families, a different part of me lets loose. Our conversations bounce from workplace drama to OT sessions. From sleep studies to seasonal beers. From coffee preferences to feeding tubes to CHANGING THE WORLD.
There is something so profound to be able to do that with someone, a very special circle of friends.
Like I said, it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how profound it really is and how much I need that outlet and sense of normalcy.
For us, August was summer break. Classes stopped at the end of July and didn’t resume until September. A whole month almost completely free of therapies. AN ENTIRE MONTH.
I thought I was fine. In fact, I thought I was less stressed because we had all this free time! Turns out, all the thoughts and feelings that normally come out with these women were being bottled up inside of me. So when we got together for an End-of-the-Summer barbecue, I felt them more than ever.
We laughed and talked and shared. We watched the kids play together. We swapped recipes and sipped wine & seasonal beers. We laughed at ourselves and exchanged workplace drama. We shared our stories and talked about changing the world.
On the drive home, as Kara slept soundly in her car seat – I felt the release that I was unknowingly yearning for. Everything that was bottled up was being let go. And I cried. And it was amazing. And I smiled because I was suddenly realizing just how much these families have come to mean to me.
I have found my people. We have different backgrounds, different careers, different parenting styles and different goals. But like our kids, we are #MoreAlikeThanDifferent and even if our paths part ways, we will always be bonded by our exclusive club.
People need people. Moms need other moms. Find your tribe. You have one. Your pack, crew, circle, bubble, or spirit animals. Whatever you call them. Find them and appreciate them, because it truly does take a village.