Why You Need A Village

311986_287884221221921_100000010370940_1298934_1621644385_nThis Down syndrome thing, it’s not an easy life, but it is a really good life. My favorite part (well, there are lots of them), but this is one; laughing about the challenges.

Last night, I met a woman whose son has Ds, and is 21. Even though she is way ahead of me in this adventure, we have an instant connection. There is just this knowing between one another. And, she says, “You know that stubbornness our kids have? Well, it doesn’t get easier, they just get more stubborn!” And, we just laughed and laughed, and shared some of our stories. And, we fully agreed, it’s a challenging life, but wow, it sure is a good one. We both get that, together, because we live it, together.

The world moves fast for our kids, and sometimes it’s difficult for them to communicate when they get frustrated. So they just shut down. When Wil was in kindergarten, he used to crawl under the table and refuse to come out. He also was, and still is, really good at plopping down on the floor and refusing to budge. It is no joke trying to lift up an almost 70 pound kid with low muscle tone off of the floor when they don’t want to be lifted. Like a slippery, wet noodle that just slips through your hands.

When I talk to my friend, Elaine, who’s son has Ds and is just about 2 years older than Wil, looking for advice as to what to do about the latest and greatest challenge, we mostly end up laughing to tears about it. We aren’t being flippant, or not taking it seriously, it’s just that she’s been there done that, and it’s ok. The laugher is like a hug that says, I get it, I’ve been there, and we will get through this, and though it is tough, hey, isn’t this life with our kids great?! And, that my friends is one powerful feeling. We can all move mountains when someone has our back.

I did not choose to have a child with Ds, but I do get to choose how I want to embrace the Ds community, and what people I surround myself with.

People are not made to be loners. So, to fully enjoy this journey, it’s important to realize we must do our part to surround ourselves with a supportive and like-minded community.

I don’t want to go this alone, and I don’t want to do it surrounded by an unmotivated, reactive, pity party. Believe me, they are out there, I send them my best, but I want no part of it. I want to laugh, I want to enjoy this journey, and open up as many doors for Wil as possible. I know it’s not easy, and I am fully ok with that. Life doesn’t have to be easy to be really, really good. In fact, as much as the challenges bring me to my knees sometimes, they are what have brought the best people into my life and shown me what my strength really is. And, that is one empowering feeling!

But, I can’t just hang back and hope all of this happens by some magic twist of fate.

So, I put myself out there and share. I share openly, freely, and happily. Some people don’t share back, but mostly I find the more I share, the more people open up to me in a like-minded fashion, and this bond grows tight. This community I’m in is a beautiful and powerful place, and we are all moving our own mountains, together.

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