I found out there is another mom of a special needs child where I work. We haven’t worked together directly but we have known each other since I began at my school 2 years ago. Our interactions have been mostly pleasant small talk and chat about home renovations.
Yesterday I approached this person and asked if they were also a special needs mom. She had such a look of surprise when she said yes… and then I said that I also have a special needs son. Turns out our kids are the same age and had attended the same recreation program back in the day before Thomas went to residential school. I’m seriously surprised that our paths haven’t crossed sooner. The mom was so so sweet as we discussed our children. I believe her son is autistic. Thomas is not. But that didn’t matter to us. In my experience diagnosis do not define a person. They’re merely labels to ensure that that person gets the appropriate help and services they’re entitled to. Common experiences are what bond one mom to another. We discussed the guardianship process we both went through with our sons and how helpful this one man Kevin was to us. Actually Kevin was pretty awesome and walked us through the whole process without making you feel like a dope.
Our only main difference as moms was that the other mom is contemplating moving to another state sometime in the future. Tommy and I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I really like it here in this borough of NYC. I also loathe moving although I’ve never met anyone who likes moving. Having a special needs child adds quite the wrench in moving plans. You have to worry about housing, group home placement if there are any where you want to go, recreational programs, day programs, Medicaid; the list goes on.
We are fortunate that we are for the most part, happy/content with Thomas’ group home. He transitioned and adjusted to “his” house quite well. He no longer calls my home his home. He says “your house.” At first that hit me hard but now it’s ok, I get it, my home isn’t his home anymore.
I really enjoyed connecting with this other mom. It’s pretty wild that our sons are the same age, and it’s also pretty wild that we’ve been working at the same school and had no knowledge of the other’s family situation. The saying, “Be kind…you never know what battles the other person is fighting” really hits the mark.