“Oh, The People You’ll Meet”: 4-20-11

Full Circle: Perhaps sixteen years ago or so, I attended a local meeting of parents of children with challenges. We were early in our journey and I found myself memorized by an attractive, vibrant mom whose son was perhaps eight or so years older than my daughter. She impressed me with her blunt approach towards her son’s challenges, her sense of humor and her take on our school district. I was still in that mute, dumb phase where the pain level soars and the pathway is unfathomable.

Coming Home: Over the last year and a half, as we embarked on this journey of “return”, I started looking about for social networks for special needs adults. And once again, I found this impressive woman who ironically lived half a mile from our home,whose house I pass daily as I drive up the hill to our road. Her son is now in his late twenties, married and living with his wife and her dad in a town nearby. They warmly invited our daughter to join a nearby theater group made up of special needs adults and run by an impassioned group of family members and volunteers who have brought the theater arts to their special adult children or siblings and drew an entire town into the process.

Heroes and Heroines Abound: You know, when you parent a child with significant challenges, folks have enormous compassion and empathy for you. They give you praise that you do not deserve any more than they do, as parents who love their children. They attribute traits to you that are a stretch. But what is really the greatest single gift of parenting special needs, in addition to the wonder of that special child, is the gift of people: “Oh, The People You’ll Meet”….to paraphrase Dr. Seuss. Educators and philanthropists; other moms and dads; baby sitters and best friends. They come out of nowhere and give your child the respect and opportunities that shape their future.

Intersecting Destinies: This group who founded a theater program and an arts program in the nearby town, the desired destination for our daughter’s future home, and this mom who impressed me over a decade ago, are all tied together. Our children’s journey will intersect in interesting ways that I could not have imagined lo those many years ago.

©Jill Edelman M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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