When you change your outside, your outside changes.
When you express what's inside, everything changes.
I belong to a Down syndrome awareness/support group. The group meets every month for social events, and occasionally for educational events. Mostly interacting on Facebook, I believe I have attended two social events in the past 18 months.
Monday evening was the occasional educational event: a workshop on puberty. Never mind that I have four older children, two of whom are male. I have questions about this! Issues of personal space, awareness of social cues, and misunderstandings already are a reality for many people with Down syndrome. Add in hormones, curiosity, and sexual desire, and woohee, it sounds terrifying.
Needless to say, I attended the meeting. The leader, a 62yo woman certified in sex education, with 41 years of experience with the special needs population, had a lot to say. Less about puberty than most of us were expecting and a WHOLE lot more about parenting in general. She has seen the fallout from situations where parents do not require anything of their special needs children. It's not pretty.
I came away from the event with some new things:
- A kick in the butt to get on the stick with helping Kepler be as independent as possible.
- The realization that I have a story to share. I have parenting experience that could be valuable to other parents and sharing my experience is stepping into something bigger.
- Several in-person connections with people I had only talked to on Facebook or seen from a distance.
Kepler has been in his dance class since September. I rarely speak to anyone during practice. In fact, most of the parents there just read or look at their phones. This week at class, I caught up with Norma (the lady I helped with the parking issue), and Chris and Beth, moms who were at the puberty workshop. Chris and I had an across-the-room conversation about parenting our kids that I noticed several parents were listening carefully to. Two other moms even jumped into the conversation.
All of these things are happening because I am blogging; I am expressing what is inside me, what is in my heart, what I want to share with others. Reflecting on what I am experiencing is making my experience of other people very different. I'm starting to understand that shipping is changing how I am living my days, how I am thinking about things, what I am willing to risk, and how I see my contribution to the world.
Isn't that cool?
What changes are you seeing in your life owing to the shipping you are doing?