Yesterday I attended the New England region Mother's Luncheon at the home of NE chair Laura Spinney. I was excited to go and speak to these women face to face about issues no one but these women understand. I was also especially excited to meet Teresa, Clare's mother, face to face. After conversing online for quite some time now, it was thrilling to be able to sit and chat in the same room! It was like hooking up with an old college friend you hadn't seen in awhile... no awkwardness - just a big hug!
The 12 or so women who attended had children who ranged from 23 years old down to four-months and a new diagnosis. I wish I had a group like this to go to after Brady's diagnosis; I think I would have had some questions answered and some fears alleviated. One of the biggest discussions was about how a lot of problems aren't WS related at all - most of the problems the mothers were having were the same problems that typical kids have. One mother commented that her 15 year old daughter likes to hang out with her boyfriend all the time; another mentioned that her daughter's friends were upset because her daughter ate with the boys at lunch instead of them -- all typical kid stuff.
I fall victim to this all the time. Whenever I have a problem with Brady my first thought is "How is this related to William's?" For example, he has been back to waking up a lot at night. One day he only had a two hour nap - surprise, he went to bed at 6:30 and woke up the next morning. The next day he had the same nap - wow! Slept again all night. Folks, this isn't a William's thing - it's a if-you-sleep-all-day-you-won't-sleep-at-night thing. Doink! [hand slapping forehead in utter amazement.]
It was also interesting to hear the differences in development - one two year old couldn't speak, another could but couldn't crawl, one mother does no extra therapies, another does as many as she can. It was all a respectful conversation with no "right" answers, just different approaches. Pictures were passed around and we all oohed and ahhed over these gorgeous kids. Plus we met our host's daughter, eight-year-old Michaela who was nothing but smiles for all the guests. It was the first time I met a child other than Brady who had William's and in a sense I was surprised at how "normal" she was. I think you have it in your head that this syndrome makes you a special needs child, so there should be something different about them. Nope. She seemed like my son Michael who is the same age. And after listening to her mother talk about her, I think Michaela acts like my Michael as well!
It sounds like there will be more activities planned for our area, which I am very excited about. I not only enjoy this community, but I need it to help my child grow. Talking about our experiences is not only therapeutic but helpful for the next guy. I have climbed a lot of hurdles with advice from these moms online and now in person, and I can only thank GOD the internet was discovered when it was. :)