This is going to sound crazy for what I am about to write, get ready. I have a stronger bond with several people I have never met. Read the last sentence again. Yep, you read this correctly. I know this is weird, but it’s true. I wonder if this is what people say that use online dating? I one could never attest to this because these search engines did not even exist 18 years ago when I got married. When we started our journey with autism, I could not get my hands on enough resources, guides, people, support groups, forums, articles or anything. I tried to finds local support groups specifically for autism in my community and there was no such groups unless it was a broader support group for all special needs. I needed just autism. I needed support from parents who were in the same boat as we were and preferably in the same area. Why was it so difficult to find parents of 2 – 4 year old children with an early diagnosis to bounce ideas, therapies, insurance questions, etc. with? As the weeks went on, I started finding some resources. I started filtering through what was helpful and positive and found an amazing discussion group called AUsome Moms. This group of Moms make you feel comfortable to ask any type questions ( and I mean any type) and receive suggestions from real moms who have experienced it and not therapists and doctors. Dads are not even allowed! After observing the page for a few weeks or should I say stalking, I got the courage to ask my first question and BOOM! 10 plus responses from Moms who either experienced and were able to offer suggestions! 1,062 Moms to date to be exact!
Two years has passed now and this group has been my #1 resource and an incredible part of my everyday life. I help others, I celebrate successes that some people cannot relate with or have an understanding why we are celebrating and I seek advice for what new challenges we might be facing. This is my Community, My Village, My Tribe, My AUsome Moms, My 1000 plus friends.
Almost exactly a year ago, the National Autism Association of North Texas hosted their annual Mom’s Day Event and I was one of the lucky few that attended. It was a total bonus because I was able to meet a few of these Mom’s who I had been chatting with for almost a year and put a face to the name. Last Sunday, a year later I ran into these same Mom’s and hugged them like they were family and I had just seen them the weekend before. You see, your time can be very limited raising a special needs child, running from therapy to therapy or doctor to doctor or you may simply just live to far. But even if it takes a year to reunite, when you do get to there is no judging AND there is pure joy to be able to reconnect.
I just wanted to thank you. Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family, whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. I recently read a phrase, When you find people who not only tolerate your quirks but celebrate them with glad cries of “Me, too” be sure to cherish them. Because those weirdos are your tribe.
Thank you to all my AUsome Mom friends.