I am not what you would call a religious person. I strongly believe that living a life of service and showing others respect and kindness is just as important as attending church every Sunday. I do believe in destiny, in karma and in things happening for a reason.
As I have gotten older and I look back on my life there are several instances where I can see exactly how and why things happened they way they did. The days in isolation made no sense at the time but once all of the events fell into place, it all made perfect sense.
One of the major “AHA” moments I always think about happened early in our marriage.
Before we had children of our own and when Mike and I were first married, he was working and traveling extensively and I was substitute teaching. My degree was in general education and my specialty was science and biology. I had NO experience with children with special needs, and no clue about autism, cognitive impairments or anything about the special education system.
One morning I was called to be a guest teacher at a school in a neighboring district. I had no idea what I had agreed to do and I did not even know that it was a school for special needs children. I was placed in a classroom that had SXI (Severely Multiply Impaired) young adults (I am embarrassed now to say this, but I shudder to think of the horror on my face that day as I walked in and saw the students that I would be working with). Thankfully a paraprofessional came over and picked my jaw up from the floor and explained to me what I would be doing that day. I remember looking at the adults working with the students thinking “I could never do this”.
Well, I did make it through that day and I even worked for their SCAMP program (a special needs day camp) for a few summers. I found out that not only could I do it, I discovered that I found Joy in doing it!
I know now that was life’s way of preparing me for what was going to come our way. It was a gentle nudge saying “You can do this” “You will do this”. It has always been a memory that I reflect on to help me be a better parent, educator and advocate.
There have been other moments; moments of discovery and thankfulness that somehow, someway I was put in the right place at the right time.
One of my most recent “AHA” moments has involved a small writing group that I am a part of. I have to say the stars aligned with this group. We are our own little melting pot. We come from various backgrounds and various parts of the world. We have different religious views and a wide variety of different lifestyles, but we always have respect for one another. We might not always agree, however we value each and every opinion.
I am involved in several groups and I enjoy each and every one of them….there is just something extra special about this one. I like to call it “The Breakfast Club.” Each morning I am greeted by funny banter between some of the members that live on the other side of the world and then those of us in the US have our go at it in the late after noon and evening. If there is ever a time when I am up in the night with Zach (and there are many) I can always count on one of the “Breakfast Club” members to be there to chat with me…usually because they are having the same sleep deprivation issues as I am.
If I need to vent, get an opinion or get a good laugh this is the fist place I go.
The Breakfast Club and my other online groups and online friends have definitely been a blessing. There are not many things I thank Autism and Ring 22 for but this is one of them. It has put me in touch with some of the most amazing people I will probably never meet but that are there for me at a moment’s notice.
So to the “Breakfast Club” and all of my other online groups and online friends…. Thank you SO much for being such a source of support and encouragement. You are always my silver lining and bright side to any kind of day!