Over the past 10 years, the Internet has brought a lot of really amazing things and people my way. It started the day that I first discovered the chat room where I would eventually meet the man I’d end up marrying and raising a family with. And, my friend, Z, is one of the greatest treasures that the Internet has put in my life. From the moment we first “met,” there was something that drew me to her. She and I can go months without a spare moment to chat and then spend several hours laughing, crying, and sharing over a marathon Skype session. Through the years, there have been plenty of times when it felt as though our lives mimicked one another’s. From planning weddings, to our struggles to build a family, and the beautiful news that a miracle was on the way. She rejoiced with me when we got the news that I was pregnant. I ugly cried when her sweet boy was born just six months after Runt.
Raising boys so close in age, we’ve spent a lot of our girl-chat hours talking about mothering. Somehow, from more than 2,000 miles and an entire country away, it’s always felt like she’s the one who really truly “gets” this parenting journey that I’m on. My walls come down, and I allow myself to open up about the joys and heartaches that mommying brings my way in a way that has proven to be incredibly difficult for me to do with most of my friends.
Like me, my friend is a blogger. On her blog, Z writes about her experiences with raising her son, who is Autistic, and his baby sister. She shares about some of the struggles they’ve had, spills her thoughts on some hefty topics centered around the Autism community, and lets us all share in the joy of some of their biggest wins. She’s built herself a pretty amazing network of supporters, both online and off.
And that’s where my friend and I are nothing alike.
Often, as I read her posts, tears spill down my cheeks. Sometimes, it’s the words on her blog that move me. More often, it’s something deeper…far more personal…that brings the tears. I cry because I am in awe of my friend. The strength that she shows with each piece of their story that she shares. The grace with which she has stepped into the role of being a special needs mom.
I want to be strong like my friend. Willing to share the real story of what it means to parent my boy. I want to move past the hurt caused by friends who’ve let me down when I needed them most. I want to stop parenting surrounded by walls – to bulldoze through the ones that I’ve built high around us. I want to allow myself to be surrounded by people who will understand and support us.
I start today.
Taking a deep breath, as I finally write the sentence I couldn’t bring myself to include when I wrote about The Mom I Am a few months ago. Finally share a bigger piece of my story as a parent. One that means so much more than breastfeeding, formula, immunizations, or car seats.
I’m a mom who happily ignored my gut for a long time, not ready to face the answers that lay on the other side of the questions that nagged at me.
I’m a mom who found myself reading one of my favorite blogs through a stream of tears as I first read the words Sensory Processing Disorder, knowing in my heart that I’d found our answer.
I’m a mom who carries a tremendous amount of guilt and self-doubt in trying to shed my idea of parenting and simply embrace being the kind of mom my boy needs.
I’m a mom who is tired of feeling so alone in this journey that is both the hardest and most rewarding thing I know I’ll ever do with my life.
I’m a mom who hopes to be the reason at least one other mom out there feels a little less alone.
I’m a mom of a son with special needs.