Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The best therapy for special needs moms
I spend a fair amount of time connecting with other moms in cyberspace—here, on Facebook and Twitter, by email. I hardly ever meet up with special needs moms in real life, except for a once-a-month girls night out that I get to every so often. But I was reminded of how key it is at the Blissdom conference, which I went to last week in Dallas to be a parenting/special needs community leader.
Blissdom is generally known for having a welcoming vibe, excellent information, loads of inspiration and sparkles—lots of sparkles. Katy from Bird on the Street (that's her above) roomed with me for a couple of days; her son Charlie also has cerebral palsy. Katy awed me by the fact that: 1) she is every bit as sharp and sane as she was when I met her in person years ago, even though she now has four kids under 5 and 1/2, and 2) she gets plenty of sleep because she believes in naps and valerian root. We giggled, laughed, cackled and generally cracked up from early morning to late at night. So much so that once the people next door called Security on us. Oopsie.
At the conference, I met Jessica of Don't Mind The Mess, mom to a three-year-old with PDD-NOS, and Sarah of Our Sonshines, who recently found out that her child could be a good candidate for selective dorsal rhizotomy. Hours before, a Blissdom staffer told me that her son with CP had the same operation, and it was a success; he'd gone from not being to support himself on his inward-turning legs to walking with DAFOs. I told Sarah about that as the buzz of chatting women surrounded us, just two moms connecting over CP.
Then I had late-night coffee with jewelry designer/blogger Lisa Leonard. Her son David, who's 10, has cornelia de lange syndrome. We talked a lot about our boys—how funny they are, the challenges they face, the scary medical stuff. We told their birth stories. I teared up. It was intense and inspiring and I went back to the room and fell into the deepest sleep.
Blissdom was a reminder of the power of heart-to-hearts and real-life laughs and being able to drink your a.m. coffee without anyone demanding to watch Cars 2 or begging you to let her wear a dirty shirt in the laundry. It's a reminder that I need to get to Girls Night Out more often. As much of a lifeline as our online special needs community is, there's nothing like actual meet-ups with other moms who get your highest highs and lowest lows. (Shout out to Allie of No Time For Flash Cards, Elaine of The Miss Elaine-ous Life and Jennifer P. Williams, who are also full of awesome.) Thank you, ladies: I feel so revived. Although come to think of it I could use a nap; Katy, can you lend me one?