As my mom & I had a visit without the little ones on Friday night, the topic came up of how blessed we are to live up here in Northern Manitoba. Not only is it absolutely serene, full of life with it’s vast array of cultural activities to enjoy & partake in, full of soul-food with it’s greenery, mountainous rocks & too many lakes to count…but it is also an amazing place to raise a child with needs as unique as Evy’s.
Some may think that because it is a smaller community that we might consider moving back to our bigger “other home” city of Winnipeg (we actually just moved up here 2 years ago, shortly before we began to notice that something was just different about the way our darling Bug worked). While it’s true that Winnipeg is vital for us with it’s large medical centers, it’s many specialists (who have been absolutely amazing on this journey so far!), and certain resources that we may not have up here (such as osteopathy)…we know that HERE is where we are meant to be. And we are so grateful to live where we do.
You know what Winnipeg doesn’t have? The dedicated, loving, and extremely knowledgeable therapists & many daycare workers that we have here. Don’t get me wrong…in a city as great as Winnipeg, there a tons of therapists & daycares of all kinds…but the care & dedication that is shown to Evy (and to us) by our team here is something a different city could never offer. As a mama who spends countless hours researching & reading about any way in which she can help her special needs child develop and grow in his different skill areas, I can tell you that there is almost no better feeling on this planet than knowing that you are not alone on the battlefield; to feel secure in the knowledge that you may be leading the charge, but you have an army backing you that you can depend on. Not an army who is available for an appointment in a few months…(a length of time you often must wait in bigger cities!)…but one who will march on to the field right now. And you don’t even need to come up with the battle-plan on your own.
As my mother and I further unpacked the many wonders of living up here, our conversation naturally turned in to singing the praises of our amazing speech language pathologist, physio therapist, occupational therapist and all those involved at his daycare center. If we were still living in Winnipeg, there is no way that our darling Bug would get the focus, attention and love that he gets from these amazing people. I do believe that somehow, someway, we were drawn here from Winnipeg 2 years ago because we needed to be here, with them, and with this whole amazing community on Evy’s journey.
As the conversation ebbed & flowed, I began to think aloud about the areas in which I feel I need to do a better job of helping our sweet little man: mainly, in his communication. Although he does say some words & phrases, not much is consistent on a daily basis yet. (I must acknowledge that in many ways, this is ok!! Not long ago, he had no desire to converse with us whatsoever. So, I do recognize the vast progress he has made thus far!) I began to throw ideas out there for how I might be able to better help him with his speech: Maybe we could focus harder on signing than we have been? (We have been doing it, but maybe not consistently enough? Maybe we need to pick certain things, and make sure that even his big brother Cody is doing them?…) Maybe if we could get him to actually look at and pay some attention to the visual images on the wall that our SLP made, he may start using those to communicate? (I haven’t yet managed to get him interested in looking at those at all…why not?) I really wasn’t sure that either of those options would help much….
And then I ran out of ideas…
But you know what? That’s O.K.!
Why? It’s alright because I am not alone. I don’t need to have all the answers. It’s not just me, and it’s not just my hubby either. Not even “just” our extended family, or “just” our best friends. We have K, our wonderful SLP & dear friend, and all I had to do was set up a time to see her this week. Thursday, 11 A.M. Boom, done! I can reach out to her knowing that some receptionist isn’t going to coldy tell me that her next appointment is 1-2 months away (as I can vividly see happening in the bigger city!). I know that I can open up with her about the ways in which I feel that I need to improve in order to better serve Evy, and I know that she will hear me. Above all, I know that she knows our darling Bug so well, and has his best interest in her heart at all times. She will help me formulate a battle-plan.
I am not alone.
And if you are the mama, daddy, or caregiver of any kind to a little one whose needs are also unique…I want you to know that you are not alone, either. No matter where you are, or who is in your support system, you have me on your team in spirit. And I send positive vibes & much strength your way.