There All Along

I’ve never considered myself to be a very religious person. I sporadically attended church as a child, and I wasn’t baptized until my firstborn was. I consider myself more of a spiritual person. I believe in being a good person, having positive energy (what you put out you get back), etc. The universe to me is so vast and mystifying, and for me, science explains a lot; yet to me, everything has a beginning and so that part is unanswered. Not to mention who or what created GOD, and who or what before that?

This is not a post about religion or to debate philosophy but rather it is just to set the scene of where I had my most recent “Aha!” moment.

The reverend at the church I’ve recently started attending was discussing how some feel as though God has not been there for them because their life has not gone as they planned or envisioned. He challenged us to think about how God just may have been with us in the other direction our lives took. How this redirection had allowed us to be better. Ok, so hang in with me here, for me, this sermon was not about GOD per se but rather it allowed me to think more critically about my life and its direction.

After my husband and I had our first son and then two years later our second, the image of what our future would look like was vastly different than what it is today.

I envisioned myself spending a lot of my time shuffling the kiddos around between different sporting events, lounging in my yard chair, cheering them on, and hanging with the other sports moms. I would have lots of play dates, family and friend parties, and yearly vacations. Date nights with the hubs as the grandparents watched our kiddos, family bike rides, school dances, sleepovers, science fairs, and award nights.

Soon after our second son was born we moved 1,000 miles away for my husband’s job. We left all our friends and family behind. We welcomed the change and kind of just jumped in head first.

It was very shortly after we arrived in CT that we started to take notice of some differences with D. By the time he was four years old he was diagnosed with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder.

D’s primary school experiences included this special ride: Dismissed from a school, referrals, 211 phone calls, work avoidance, dismissal from summer camps, high intellect assessed, safety holds, sensory rooms, PPTs, IEPs, Extended School Year, school van pickups at our home, in-school and out-of-school suspension, eloping, clearing a classroom, OT (occupational therapy), inability to stay in a sport, special education, a 1:1 para, chiropractic care, psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychological testing, medications, supplements, and lots and lots of phone calls. We had no family support system here to help us with appointment juggling, mental breaks, school pickups, etc.

By 6th grade, he was established in a program at school designed for kiddos with social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. He has a 1:1 para educator. His current diagnosis is Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. He is on several medications and vitamins. He has high intelligence, and does well academically; he is an avid reader and enjoys Legos, Minecraft, and DND. D struggles with balance, throwing a ball, or any large motor demand. Therefore at 11 years old, he is not on any team sport, nor can he ride a two-wheel bike, or tie shoes easily. He never gets invited to birthday parties, not since at least 2nd grade, and no play dates, sleepovers, or just hanging out. He does go to martial arts and plays DND at our library. His only true friend WAS his brother, however they have not spoken to each other in 2 years. His brother doesn’t get him. 😢

When we started realizing all the assistance the school district provided for my son, I started to pay attention to the workings of the school and town. I appreciated what we had, where there was room for growth, and wanted to give back to the schools by supporting them. I wanted to ensure that all students have the resources available to them to thrive. My children deserve the opportunity to become the very best versions of themselves with the ability to live the most meaningful and fulfilling life possible.

This then led me to start advocating for all marginalized groups (those with disabilities, people of color, low-income, LGBTQ+, …) I long for D to be happy, included, and understood. I will work my whole life for him and all other marginalized folks to have these things. Because how can one support inclusion for one group but not for all?? I vehemently doubt those who say they support those folks with disabilities or are ND but then don’t support those who also don’t fit the “typical” or “normal” stereotype. You are either an accepting person or you are not. Period. But, I digress.

My other son is “wicked smaht” also. He is good at anything he puts his mind and energy into. But team sports or clubs are just not his things. We always say he should have played soccer or basketball. I think the energy that is prevalent in team sports is just not his jam. Too intense. It’s a shame because he could have really been an asset to a team. Instead he prefers gaming, reading, history, forging, archery, disc golf. Things he can play alone or with just a few other people. He’s an introvert but will give his time to a select few. He is all peopled out by the end of the school day or week. So he spends most of his time at home. He’s such a love, but my golly, is he a teen!

It should be clear that my dreams of being a sports mom never happened. Playdates and birthday parties, sleepovers, and family vacations were far and very few between.

So what is my point in all this? While I have probably spent time feeling sad, bad, worried, or stressed about the path my life went down; I’ve realized I am a better person because of directional change. I’ve become a more empathetic, caring, supportive, and open-minded individual. I volunteer in the community for seniors and low-income families, I actively support the queer community, and I advocate for all kiddos but I put extra energy into building awareness and acceptance for those with disabilities; I will speak up in support of people of color and other marginalized groups; I lead with love, and hopefully I am a good role model for my kids. I will always be learning how to be better. It feels REALLY, REALLY good to be kind. I don’t want to forget to mention that I’ve met some very cool-minded individuals along this path who I am very proud to call my friends. ❤️

So, back to God and paths and stuff. IF there is a God, no doubt God was there on this alternate path with me. It is through this path I know I have grown as a person and will become the very best version of myself. This path has given me the voice to be of service to others, lead with love and acceptance, be a good person, and better understanding, more forgiving person. I work to lift others.


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