While my family still faces some pretty significant challenges that are influenced by our children’s special needs or society’s perception of our children’s special needs, we’re really doing quite well. It is a comfortable time to go back and reflect on the experiences that brought us to this point, which is what I’m doing in writing my memoir about our early years.
Most of the time, I feel at peace with my life and what we’ve been through. We made it. We’re okay now. But going back and reliving those struggles shows how much those emotions, those moments, and those injustices still affect me.
Sharing these moments in my book is making it easier for me to share these moments in other places. It’s opening me up and helping me to be more honest with a wider audience that doesn’t understand, but can come to understand better with a little more sharing. College classes give me an excellent opportunity to practice this kind of sharing, but I also find myself sharing in other environments as well.
I’ve learned quite a lot from going back over those painful memories. I remember how I saw things then, but I see things differently now, and I try to capture both in the book. The process is also helping me to see things here and now a bit differently. So many of us spend so much of our time communicating with each other, and that certainly has value, but as knowledgeable as we are of our own stories and of each other’s stories, targeting one another misses out on the wider audience we have to reach in order to change things for our children.
Think about a moment in time that has caused you pain because you or your child were not appreciated for your differences. Then, find a way to share that moment outside the traditional circles. Send the moment out into the wider world. Bring a little understanding to those who might not otherwise be exposed to the stories we live and the message we have to share.