The site started a couple years ago in my head. There has to be a way for us caregivers to identify each other out in public. Go on ANY special needs social media site and you'll see it mentioned too. I'm just a mom, I work at a stressful job and have two kids, 2 dogs a cat and a husband that works night shift.... there is no way I can do this too. But it won't stop in my head, it has to get out. I've had enough life coincidences to know when the universe has stopped being subtle. This site and definitely this blog will change over time. But in my Mom's phrasing, "just do it, even if it sucks". (I'm aware this is not original material, but it is true.) Somewhere you begin, and then your learning ramps up and someday I hope to look back at this first post and shake my head while I cringe. That is the beauty of being where I'm at in life, I'm aware that I get to grow. Instead of worrying about the rest, I focus on trying to figure out what I'm even supposed to learn!
To bring it back to the initial thought I wanted to share; while this site began years ago, only recently I took the fuel of being fired up after yet another call about my son's behavior at school, subsequently going to pick him up since he was sent home for a "reset" afternoon. I took more money than I should have, and started the site to get my tail in gear. I've so far managed to pull some pics from my not-organized pictures folders and hodgepodged them with some gettysimages. I want there to be some of us and some of what I envision. Soon to come are the actual badges. For now, this is about identifying and validating those who lead this life style. It is extreme and it is different but it is no less. As life permits I hope to grow in my voice on this platform and expand my other ideas about unifying the special needs community.
When I'm out in public, I would love for the people around to give me and the person I am caring for extra allowances. I happen to have a young kid, and while he could pass for misbehaving, he is experiencing the world differently than I am. He needs extra time, explanations, empathy and sometimes he needs nothing at all and he's just misbehaving. There are others who care for not so little ones, and they need this "extra" (insert the need here). How do we translate to others this possible need for help, or allowances, without hurting the integrity of the person we are caring for? How do I recognize another brave and mighty soul (aka caregiver) so I can nod my head in reverence at them? My thinking is I wear a badge or patch that identifies ME as the caregiver. Right?!
My child does not need sympathy or pity. He needs support to navigate this big world in a manner that he can interpret, internalize and then learn and grow. As his caregiver I have a general knowledge of what he's learned and mostly how he needs support. It is MY job to help interpret him to the world and the world to him. I can only help. In my head his path, his journey is similar to Frost's Road Not Taken poem. The poem clearly states that that the two paths "equally lay/ in leaves" and "the passing there/ had worn them really about the same". My son's quality of life is equal to mine, we both walk into the supermarket, but we both experience it very differently.
So that is the big reveal. I want to nod validation to those other special needs warriors, you bad A's, you knights and ninja's. After badges roll in, I'm going to start taking them to local grocery stores and big name stores asking to offer a special needs awareness video, and then ask if they can appoint one special needs person per shift to wear the badge. Maybe they can help walk around with us while we're shopping... this brain never stops.
Anyone want to make a special needs awareness video?