As we continue through navigating our new “normal,” one thing in particular has stood out to me as far as parenting Dominic goes. No one can make it alone through this. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Never has that been more true than during these unusual times we are currently living in.
After I had Lauren, I had two miscarriages. When I got pregnant with Dominic, I was worried every single day that I would have another miscarriage. I think I knew deep down from the time he was born that something wasn’t quite right. When he was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2 it surprised me, but not really. As the diagnoses started stacking up, ADHD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder at age 3 and then Complex Partial Epilepsy five years ago, I knew that we needed additional support. Say what you will about Facebook (I know not everyone likes it), but for those parenting children and adults with disabilities (such as our family) it’s very much a “lifeline.”
Isolation was huge for our family in those early days of Dominic’s diagnosis of autism. During that time, our daughter was having significant health issues and we were taking care of my husband’s parents back in Cleveland. It literally was all I could do to function each day. I guess you could say, “I was going through the motions.” When everything settled down a bit, I then starting looking for my “village.” It’s not like you can go stand on your rooftop and say, “hey, I need support here!” I wish it was that easy, but it isn’t. When I started posting on Facebook years ago about important milestones Dominic reached, my online “village” would comment and/or like my post. During this quarantine, Dominic (and our family) have been the recipients of many “random acts of kindness.” At the beginning of the quarantine, a neighbor down the street gave Dominic a puzzle because he knows from my Facebook posts that Dominic loves puzzles.
Five days ago, another neighbor (who just happens to be Dominic’s old music teacher) brought down five “Magic Tree House” books that her daughter picked out special to let him borrow because she saw on my Facebook page that Dominic was reading them. This past Monday, I met up with one of my closest and dearest friends in a high school parking lot (so we could social distance) and she gave me six puzzles, three of which Dominic has already done and yesterday afternoon, Dominic’s special friend, Madelyn brought over four puzzles. Wow, I’ll tell you, I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of my “village!” Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and please know this, it is very much appreciated!