Tag Archives: hope

These Are My People

5BF6F389-554B-49ED-BAB5-BA2F51C4488B.jpegIt is often said that there’s a master plan for the universe. That things happen for a reason. That you’re given no more than you can handle. That what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That, eventually, you’ll find your place in the world. And, while there have been many times that I’ve questioned the universe, cursed it for the everlasting pile of crap heaped on those who don’t deserve it, I’ve finally realized that I’m right where I was meant to be all along. Where there was darkness, there is light. And, love, support, friendship, hope.


Today marked the completion of a six month program called Partners in Policymaking through the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council. During this time, I’ve gotten to know some of the most amazing humans I’ve ever met. Among them, the courageous self-advocates and professionals whose calling is that of saints. And, the moms.


Among the self-advocates are the women with beautiful souls inside and out who are learning to fight for themselves and inspire others to do the same. Some calmly and quietly, others out loud. Enjoying life THEIR way. There’s the guy who puts John Deere to shame by taking apart a lawn mower and putting it back together better, faster, sleeker than they ever could. The guy who loves to sing and makes his family so proud. The guy with one of the best laughs I’ve heard. The sweetest girl ever who sang Happy Birthday with more soul than Aretha Franklin. And, the support staff who protectively watch over them with love and kindness, but giving them the freedom to be independent. Rejoicing in their success and sharing tears for their sadness as a parent would.


Those who chose to work in the field of advocacy, teaching others how to find their voice, providing support to those who need it are beyond inspiring. They fight for the funding to keep the program going to help so many. All are passionate about the cause and all so very special who have each touched my heart in their own way. There’s one, though, that on the surface looks like she’s given up her life for others. There’s a sense of sadness in her. On the outside, it looks as though she’s done without so she can help others. She’s single with no pets or children. She exudes love, pure yellow. And, when she opens her mouth to speak, we listen. She takes us to church with every single word uttered; spoken with conviction, compassion, empathy, power. The truth of the matter is that while it may appear that she’s done without, she has more than all of us.


The moms. Oh, my god. The moms. Astounding, each with their own story of seeing their child (or children) struggle, in pain, ridiculed, crying, fighting. Fighting for inclusion, education amidst bureaucracy, medical care, benefits, friendships, and doing all they can to be the rock for their family while many are broken inside from the constant struggle. Fighting for things most take for granted. Feelings of belonging no where, struggling to find their place when friendships end as they put all of the time and energy into being an advocate for kids who are often so misunderstood. These are my people. The late nights, margaritas, queso, Door Dash, bottles of wine, jewelry, stories, tears, laughter, encouragement, understanding, beauty, determination, love. A sisterhood of women who have probably all wondered how they got to where we are in life, feeling as though they’ve lost themselves somewhere along the way. I know these women. I know who they are, what they’re made of. They are the ones who fight not only for their child and family, but for others like them. They are the ones who don’t just talk about how they wish things were different, they do what needs to be done to make sure things are different. They absolutely have lost themselves along the way. But, what they’ve found, what they’ve become, is something far greater and more beautiful than they ever would’ve been had they not been dealt the hands they hold. And, no matter how the cards continue to be dealt, you’ll never see them fold. Oh, no. Not THESE women.


Yes, the universe has a plan. It knows what it’s doing. It knows that you could give these women, men, moms, advocates, self-advocates the crappiest hand in the deck. And, we would know what to do with it to win. It’s in our hearts. Determination. Those who have been hurt the most often have the greatest ability to heal. So grateful to have met my people. This is my purpose. This is my life. These are my people.


#pip #partnersinpolicymaking #advocate #disabilities #autism #aintnostopingus #momfia

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Disney

I’m not gonna lie. Today sucked. We had our first IEP meeting at our local school after the fiasco when they lied, denied and sold their soul to the devil months before at the last IEP meeting. I’m thankful that our attorney was with us and ensured that everything that should’ve been addressed was noted.

As soon as we showed up, the staff that betrayed our trust to the utmost extent acted as if nothing ever happened. The pleasantries began. The district supervisor that was so nasty to the school in Tennessee sat with a sneer on her face next to their attorney. I sat in the chair across the table silently, jaws clenched, Sharpie in hand. My husband said he could tell I was fuming and that I was even writing “angrily.”

“How is Shane doing?” My husband answered them. “Oh! That’s great to hear.” Inside my head, I rolled my eyes and whispered to myself all the things I wanted to say. Do they know that their lack of honesty took years off our lives? Do they realize that their lack of integrity has cost us thousands of dollars we shouldn’t have had to spend? Do they know that their lack of morals is stealing pieces of time from our family we’ll never get back? Furthermore, do they care?

Anyone who knows me understands the colossal feat it took for me to sit with my mouth shut. I’m a fighter. A warrior. A Mama Bear. How did I accomplish this? Disney. Yes, Disney. During the meeting, I replayed pivotal scenes from Disney movies in my mind. Movies that taught me life’s lessons so eloquently that I hadn’t thought of for years.

Thumper-“If you can’t say somthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

Scar looking in Mufasa’s eyes and indicating that he was going to help only to dig his claws in and let him fall

Pinnochio-“Always let your conscience be your guide.”

Aladdin-“You’re only a fool if you give up.”

Lady and the Tramp-“There’s a great big hunk of world down there with no fence around it.

Nemo-“Just keep swimming.

I know it’s a weird coping mechanism, but it’s one that worked for me today as my anxiety was through the roof. And, even as I sit here this evening, my heart breaks that the road we’re on is not one I would’ve chosen or ever envisioned, but it’s what has to be for now.

As we said our goodbyes to Shane after our visit Saturday, I handed him a little box. In it were two action figures, Frodo and Sam. But, more importantly, there was a dog tag necklace with a quote we repeat at the end of every phone call and one that I hope he never forgets…

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”-Winnie the Pooh

Thanks, Disney, for giving me the wisdom, life lessons and the words to convey what my head is saying and my heart is feeling. And, for teaching me everything I need to know.

Hard work pays off.-Princess and the Frog