Last night we had our CP Association Parent Support Group Annual Christmas Potluck and Ornament Exchange. Well.. what a fabulous way to kick off the Christmas Season! Glenda Power, one of the founding members of the group was once again, the 'Hostess with the Mostess'. Her home was beautifully decorated for the holidays. Driving to her house, we could see the lights as we approached, and before we even parked the car, I got the feeling that "This is exactly where I want to be!"
Her tree was perfection. Everything was sparkling and bright and full of love and meaning and memories of Christmases past. The house quickly filled with people - all parents of children with special needs. Many of us have long been friends, since our kids were little and we were new to this journey. Some were just starting out on their own path of raising a child with a disability.
It is amazing to see the connection that is made, almost instantly, and without words even having to be spoken. We just know. We are all there at that time for the same reason. We are a group of parents who are very different from each other in many ways, but alike in so many more. Though we all have challenges, we want the same things for our children. We want them to grow up feeling loved and valued. We want them to have opportunities for education, for friendships, and for meaningful experiences. We want the world to see their personalities and their abilities, and the joy that they bring to their families and to those close to them.
Connecting with parents like we did last night is invaluable. There is so much we can learn from those who are just a little bit further down the road than we are. There is so much wisdom that comes with experience, and it is a privilege to be able to pass that along to those who are following closely behind us. Raising a child with a disability certainly comes with it's challenges, but it also opens up a world of possibilities, new friends, life lessons and tremendous love.
It is a wonderful feeling - being in a welcoming home, surrounded by parents of children with many different disorders and diagnoses. All parents who have embraced the heartache of raising a child with special needs, and who are happy and hopeful in spite of it.
Thank you, Glenda, for hosting a fabulous evening.
Thank you to everyone who came and joined in our Christmas silliness, and thank you all for the gift of your friendship.
I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!