I am a member of a secret society of sorts- a club, which I never would have chosen to join, but to which I am now bound by something thicker than blood. We are a sisterhood of women who share something sacred: we are all mothers of children with special needs.
For each of us, the term “special needs” is a loaded one. Of course our children, like all children, are special. But to say they have “special needs” implies they are different in a way that is inadequate, atypical, not the way they were supposed to be.
This is not the way it’s supposed to be.
Is that self pity? Weakness? Selfishness?
My soul sisters will tell me the truth. Over wine and Italian food, we will eat, laugh, sometimes cry, but always keep each other honest and strong. In many ways, I am blessed by all of the things that are important: beautiful children, a loving marriage, a supportive family, work that I love, and the best of friends. But, when I feel myself sinking into that dark place-the place where I grieve over that which my son may never do, or that which he may never have; and most importantly, that which I cannot heal within him-it is my group of sisters, my comrades in arms, who come to my rescue.
Bringing sometimes painful, but almost always humorous tales that only a special needs mom could appreciate, we cradle one another in sympathy and understanding that for me, never feels like pity, and always gives me strength.
This sisterhood of women feed my soul in ways that only those who are familiar in the truest way can do. They keep me fortified, helping me be the Mom my children need, the wife my husband deserves and the friend and professional my colleagues expect.
It is while sitting with them at the Italian restaurant: our monthly meeting spot: laughing and commiserating over our shared triumphs and losses, quenching our thirst for relaxation over glasses of wine, and taking deep breaths between bites of delicious food that we didn’t cook ourselves; it is then, that I know I can stand tall and face every mountain, finish every race, and keep dreaming big dreams for my child-for both of my children. I know I will survive and thrive with the camaraderie and friendship of my extra special sisterhood of moms.
This, I believe.