Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wings Gala speech, Jan. 25th 2013

I wanted to tell you that before I came to the Family Center I had two friends. Two friends in which to share the monotony of new motherhood. Two friends to plan play dates and tumbling classes and swimming lessons and movies for moms, anything to get through the days while our husbands went off to work. Let me tell you it got awfully lonely if one of my friends was out of town and the other had sick children.
I was Home. Alone. With my child. For eight hours…

Then I had my second boy, Dermot. In the beginning he had, what I like to call now, some “minor” health issues and my two friends tried to support me. Three months after he was born we moved to Edina, to a house that had more than two bedrooms. I decided to keep my oldest son in preschool in St. Louis Park in order to stay connected to my two friends.

Then, at four months old, Dermot had his first seizure, and that changed everything.
You see when a child has a seizure and goes to the ER and stays in the PICU for three nights, he is automatically referred to an agency called “Help me Grow” for an assessment to check his general development. Through a series of appointments and assessments with the fine ladies of Edina’s Early Childhood Special education it was decided that Dermot needed extra help to meet his developmental milestones. Dermot’s teachers came to the house every week and spoke very highly of the family center for Owen. And I listened.

I had missed the ever so important registration deadline so most classes were filled. We managed to get a spot in a hand-in hand class for three year olds, and so began my journey at the Edina Family Center.

I continued the next year with Teacher Sue Ellen’s class and started my first parenting class. By that time, I’d had ANOTHER baby boy and my second son was receiving the maximum services from the school district. We had been told by his doctors that he would never walk or talk, he would be different. What I heard was: I WOULD BE DIFFERENT.

So at start of my first parenting class, it was me, Kris and eighteen other moms. Moms, whom I thought, were very different than me. They could not know what I was going thru. I told myself they wouldn’t understand. I spent most of that class feeling apart from everyone else.

Now, four years later, I am in Kris’ class again, and there isn’t even a moment of feeling different. I share my story openly and honestly. I credit the fact that I can do that because of the moms in this community, we call THE FAMILY CENTER. So KIND, so ACCEPTING, so eager to help.

I’ve taken three other parenting classes between my Kris S. classes and each experience has taught me more. I cherish my time with Kelly, Sandy and Kris a great deal. This “MOM NETWORK” is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. These moms offer kind words, no judgement and help other moms however they can.

They’ve taught me that yes; I am a special needs mom. But I am also a hockey mom, a soccer mom, a minivan driving mom, a running mom. I am a mother just like all of you. I’ve tackled some very extraordinary circumstances, just like you would if your child needed you.

I still struggle to get my picky eater to eat something, ANYTHING!  I cheer when my son scores a goal at hockey. I complain when my little one keeps waking up in the middle of the night.

All of you remind me that I belong here; with ALL the other moms and that everyone has their own struggles and triumphs to experience. The best part about the Family Center is that we do all of these remarkable things TOGETHER.

So because this is my last year at the Family Center I’d like to close by thanking all of the teachers, staff and parents that have made an impact on me and my family.

Thank you to:
Kris
Angie
Kelly                       
Sandy
Mary
Dawna
Shelly
Brenda
Lisa
Heather
Molly
Leslie
Julia
Barb
Karen
Cathy
Sue Ellen
Linda
Celeste
Amy
Annie
Carla
Danni
Jane
Laurie
Kristin
Deb
Priya
Jen
Rebecca
Alison
Winnie
Carrie
Christina
Jason
Leslie
Carrie
Krista
Paola
Kristie
Sue
Amy
Erica
Kristi
Noelle
Kristin
Jesse
Aron
Becca
Varenie
Beth
Ophelia
Amy
Kate
Kelly
Beth
Rachel
Kristi
Kara
Julie
Tanja
Kelly
Rob
Caroline
Padma
Michelle
Cintia
Annie
Kim 

AND of course the fabulous women from Early Childhood Special Education:
Jan, Kate, Jamie, Anne, Katherine, Joan, Megan and Sarah.

Thank you, I carry all of you with me wherever I go and I no longer feel APART from you….

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