My daughter, a budding writer who likes to read my blog, keeps reminding me that I have not written a blog post since late June.
“Mooooooom! That’s like 4 months ago! When are you going to do another blog post?!”
Summer, for one, is/was a difficult time to think my own thoughts and write blog posts. I surrendered a bit to the abyss of kids and running around and trying to “relax” more, haha.
Even more than that, I had been working all summer on my passion, my baby, my dream: We Are Brave Together—A Community of Special Needs Moms.
I have always been crazy-passionate about Girl Time and Mommy Breaks and the friendship of women. I’m a girlfriend’s girlfriend, and I am best friends with everyone, my supportive hubby always says.
That coupled with my burden and heart for Special Needs Moms—well, crash, a beautiful collison.
Motherhood can be isolating. The busyness of working or volunteering or just care-taking and don’t forget all the mundane activities you do all day by YOURSELF. A sister wife never looked so good.
Special Needs Motherhood has an added layer that is deeper and wider in isolation. You feel different. Your life feels different. Your family life is different. Your child IS DIFFERENT, or VERY-VERY DIFFERENT than the neuro-typical, healthy peers around them and you are coping with that.
Because I know and understand, and talk freely about all the emotions embroiled in Special Needs Mothering, I know it’s important to be with others who GET it, without saying a word.
With only a glance in the eye to each other, you are known and understood. Much like survivors of a plane crash or survivors of a war. Only fellow Special Needs Mothers know and understand the trauma, the stress, the fallout, the ongoing PTSD. We cycle through deep trenches, or live every moment in the trenches, depending on their child’s needs or behaviors or medical crises.
Therefore, it is comforting to gather. It is transformative.
WABT is first and foremost a community of Special Needs Moms. When I say SNM’s, I actually created a big umbrella for this definition. I include ADHD, dyslexia, any learning issues, anxiety, depression, addiction, OCD, eating disorders and any other mental health issues; straight medical issues or severe allergies. Any mom with any child or adult child with any challenges is welcome to be a part of this community. Even if you don’t typically self-identify as a SNM, but your child struggles, join me, join us.
Whether you are grieving about your child’s continuous F’s in school, or another mom is grieving about a rare disease that her child has been diagnosed with--
THERE IS A UNITY OF TEARS.
Because NO MOTHER wants to see her child struggle. No mother wants to see her child suffer through serious emotional or physical pain. It goes against a mother’s heart. (NOTE: Struggle brings growth and builds character, but I am not referring to that type of struggle in our children. I do not believe in “bubbling” neuro-typical children from disappointments or failures, but I think you understand my point here.)
I believe strongly in the power of GATHERING.
When we gather, we are empowered, we are more hopeful, and we are more strengthened.
Why? Because we know now that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
If I could show up on every special needs mother’s doorstep, with flowers, chocolate, wine, and a big banner that says, “You are not alone,” I would. I wish that I could.
Until then, I will create space for us to gather through low-cost retreats, workshops, support groups, and parties. Although I am based in Southern California, I can do this anywhere in the country.
I launched WABT this past July with a big party, where about 60 moms showed up. 60!! From all over SoCal. In September, I hosted a brunch and support group meeting. Three hours together was not even long enough to share. And September 29th-October 1st was our very first WABT Retreat. $100 (ONLY!) for two nights away in Palm Desert, thanks to homes generously donated to make this possible. 24 moms were able to relax, rest, share war stories, cry, laugh, eat, enjoy drinks by the pool, and JUST BE. It was a gift for us all.
I have a lot to learn as I lead this. “Sometimes you have to jump and build your wings on the way down.” I jumped!! And here I go. Here we go.
A gorgeous website is coming, thanks to a WABT member’s financial support; and filing to become a non-profit will begin in 2018.
A fund-raising campaign will also be launched in 2018. Because–what about the moms out there who CANNOT afford to spend anything to attend a retreat?! We want to reach out to them, too, and provide scholarships. Respite is critical for all Special Needs Moms. And couples. And siblings. And dads. Big dreams and plans on my vision board! Please consider donating to this next year, or any year.
Almost every few days a new name is given to me. Over the last 10 months, I have added about 250 moms to this group. Nationwide. Each name represents a story and a struggle and an ache.
The need is HUGE. I am hoping to shine my light into this corner of the world. A world I never thought I would be in.
And yet, this is MY world. I love these moms fiercely. This is my joy and my passion. It’s oozing out of my pores and heart!