Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving and thank you

I remember my first Early Intervention meeting. A small room full of parents, all from different backgrounds with one commonality: our kids. I remember looking around warily at the mish mash of faces. Who were you?

I didn’t wonder too much, though. I wasn’t planning to stay long. Nothing personal. Special needs just wasn't on my agenda. But as so often happens, fate had other plans. So we stayed a little longer.

As Sam began his preschool program for kids with educational challenges it became clear his issues wouldn’t be resolved quickly. We lingered longer in this place. We started to know you and your families. I met your beautiful children and marveled at their sweet brave hearts. I began to understand we couldn't do this alone. 

Some of us only crossed paths briefly, some became permanent fixtures. Still I remember you all. 

You provided the knowing smile across the playground, the reassuring words, the voice at the end of my phone, the irreverent laughter I grew to love. You magically appeared on the darkest days offering a kind word, a hug or a nod of understanding.

You didn't compete for best mom or best kid. You cheered Sam's accomplishments as enthusiastically as your own. You sympathized when challenging days stretched from weeks and months. You openly admitted mistakes and offered suggestions based on those experiences. You shared your life openly and in doing so helped me find my balance.

To every special parent out there: those I've already met and those I've yet to meet, thank you, thank you. Thank you for your patience; for indulging my fantasies in the early days. Thank you for the nod of understanding, the wry comment to help me laugh. Thanks for the coffee, the care packages, the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, the shoe racks, the friendship, the hugs, the kindness, and for never judging us too harshly. Thanks for every act of kindness no matter how grand or small. Thank you for the acceptance and waiting patiently while I figured out I was a here to stay. 

Most of all, thank you for never saying, “I told you so” when you could clearly see what I could not.

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