Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Shipping Connections

When you change your outside, your outside changes.
When you express what's inside, everything changes.
---me


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.

So what?

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.

So what?

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?

3 comments:

poormexicangone said...

So cool Susie. And so important. Im very happy you are finding your voice and audience! What a powerful tool, this place right here.

Kimberly Westrich said...

this is awesome! good for you, and good for the people who are going to benefit from your wisdom :)

estelle speros-macdonald said...

There are so many blessings that have come out of the Challenge experience..As i read your post today i felt so grateful to know you- you are one special lady..our story is extra special today because you shared that experience with us... you are an inspiration to many..keep at it follow that voice that's telling you what is next..Bravo~e