Sunday, February 8, 2009

Connections

One of the reasons I started this blog is to connect with people in an easy, fun way. Sure, it is a great way for family and friends to stay in touch and I love that. But, I wanted to connect with people like me who may feel or have felt the profound isolation and vulnerability of being a special parent. Nothing is lonelier than that.

I am always mightily touched and gratified when a little piece of magical connection happens. And, don't think I exaggerate; I do think of it as magic.

Thank you to all the people who leave little comments or visit my blog. Maybe you know exactly what it is like, maybe you are just starting out or maybe you are just curiously peaking from the edge. Frankly, it doesn't matter because I just don't feel as alone anymore and for that, I sincerely thank you.

I remember when it began to dawn on me that Shea had real challenges that he was not going to just "grow out of". Those were black days indeed. I had to get my brain around what being "special" really was and how I was going to look at it. Denial and avoidance don't work for very long as a strategy and the only real comfort I could find was hearing other "special" parents stories. Those parents understood. I could see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices; they knew exactly what I was going through.

And, what I was able to see was that these parents love their kids as much or more because of the struggle. Just like other parents, they try to see the world objectively to predict the pitfalls and soften the stumbles but even more so. Specials parents possess an almost herculean energy, drive and focus fueled by these frustrations and sorrows. In fact, I doubt there is anything a special parent can not do once they set their mind to it, except of course make their child different than who they are. Many special parents throw themselves into activism, research, art, writing which perhaps is the healthier side of the equation. Many special parents buckle under the strain, both financial and emotional and it is common for marriages and partnerships to dissolve.

It is up to each of us to find and adopt the path that will guide us during these rocky years. After a while, a body of experience builds up in each of us. Whether we believe we have wisdom to impart or advise to give, we do. Because part of this struggle is to somehow, some way not feel so alone.

That is what I want to do with my blog. I am no writer but if I can touch one person and make them feel like they are part of a bigger community of parents who all know what it is like to weep, fight and struggle for their child with special needs then I have succeeded.

So, cheers to you, reader! Thank you for helping me help someone who is helping yet another. This is what it is all about.

2 comments:

Carolyn Tarpey said...

Oh Shelley,

What a beautiful post! I had tears running down my face as I read your very "true, real" words. It is so helpful to feel connected when we are parents let alone ones of special needs children.

This whole speech delay with Henry has been so hard on me emotionally. Somedays are better then others. It is the unknown that gets me every time...

It is important that I continue to reach out to others and lean on them for comfort and support. I must also remember I am human and I will have good and bad days and that is okay.

Thank you once again for sharing so honestly and for being so open about your inner feeling.

I look forward to talking with you on the phone at some point.

Best,
Carolyn

Shea's Mom said...

That one was for you, Carolyn.

Hang in there. It is a long road but all parenting is. You and Henry will both get there.

XOX

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