Since Sammie B was born, I've realized how very very hard it is to find mom friends to really connect with. We live in a huge city, I work a lot, many of my friends do as well, and when we aren't working, its just hard to find time to "connect" -- I always want to spend my non-work time with Sammie B and B, and there's just so little time left over.
Facebook has provided me with a way to connect with the friends I already had that became mommies . . . even if sometimes, that's just through a few pictures and comments, I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into their lives as mommies, and connecting on that level.
And a friend also introduced me to an online list-serve/forum for local moms, and I've loved that. I've connected with other mom-lawyers on that site, other moms of low-tone kids, etc. through posts, messages, facebook, and play dates. That too has been invaluable. So suddenly, my mom network expanded to women that I didn't really know, at least not in real life.
And as we started delving more and more into the world of PT, OT, etc., I started looking for connections with moms that were in similar boats. And that's how I found several women that I now call "friends" who live in other states, far away, that I likely may never meet in person, but that "get" my experience as a mother more than I think anyone else possibly could. We post questions and commments, we share resources, we whine, we complain, but above all, we support each other.
When I find that being on the board causes me to focus TOO much on the delays and I take a step back or am busy at work and MIA for awhile, they check in on me via facebook, as I do with them (we've all noticed that while its nice to share our stories about PT, etc. on the board, its also nice to see pictures via facebook of each other and our kiddos on a random Saturday, reminding us that there's MUCH MUCH more to our lives than just PT/OT . . . those glimpses into their lives make me smile). They cheer my sweet Bean on and I cheer their kiddos on too. Sammie B's network of cheerleaders is pretty impressive.
So, its no surprise that when I recently posted a question about how I am so sick of hearing "oh I'm sure she'll catch up" as comfort, these women could all relate and had great words of wisdom. [I should mention that many of my "in real life" friends did too].
The thing is, in the beginning of our journey into developmental delays, that's what I needed and wanted to hear, because I needed and wanted to believe MORE THAN ANYTHING that she WOULD catch up. But, lately, those words don't comfort me anymore. I feel like people say it because that's what THEY need. THEY need to believe she'll catch up because that's their "normal," but I would much rather NOT hear that. We don't know if she'll catch up. Sure, her doctors still remain confident that she will, but so what. If she doesn't, her life won't be any less beautiful because of that. And I need MY friends (and all of Sammie B's supporters) to believe that too. To just appreciate her for who she is and not worry so much about what she'll be. She's going to live a beautiful life and so will we for having her in ours.
So anyway, my favorite comment from another mom on my board is worth sharing . . . because its exactly how I feel (it is true AND a tiny bit funny - what's better than support + a giggle?)
I woke up this morning with an answer to the catch up question. "Well, its not a race so "catching up" is not what we worry about. We want her to become who she was meant to be."
Just one other thought, remind your friends and families that our children are not deaf and we are not going to talk about their delays in front of them any more than we are going to ask if their typical daughter is ever going to lose the extra weight or stop dancing like a klutz.
And that is my hope for Sammie B. . . that she will become who she is meant to be, her very best self. And that B and I will open all the right doors for her and do all that we can to enable her to be that best self. Few things in life are certain, but I know for sure, with no doubt, that she is going to be fabulous.
[As I type this, though, I worry that some of my friends/family may read this and worry that they've said the whole "she'll catch up" thing and pissed me off. Not so. As I said, there have been times when that's exactly what I needed to hear. There may be times I still want to hear that. Knowing you believe it helps, I just also have reached a place where I no longer think that MUST be the goal. . . where I don't want that to be treated like its the most important thing, because its just not. That's all. So, keep on believin' it, just join with me in realizing that in the grand scheme of things, "catching up" is an abstract goal, and one that really doesn't matter all that much.]