The weekend before last, Zoey and I ventured out of town to be part of our county wide Special Olympics event. First time ever. Mark was working that Saturday, the boys tagged along with him, so Zoey and I went solo. Just me and my little sidekick. The games were held in Ojai. A quaint little bedroom town, about 45 minutes north of us. Ojai can however, get hot. Really hot. We are spoiled here in my town because we are in such a close proximity to the ocean, a place like Ojai, on a summer day, can easily get 10-20 degrees hotter then what we are use to. So we left armed with sunblock and hydration. Or, at least I thought we had the hydration covered. Seems like an hour or so in, the sun beating down, I go to feed Zoey and it looks like I have left behind one necessary supply. To add to my panic, I hightail it to the van to retrieve my handy dandy bag of emergency supplies and .... for some reason, it is no where to be found. Great.
So just like that, an announcement goes over the PA system and I kid you not, in under 2 minutes, no less than 3-4 moms, extensions in hand, arrive at our pop-up. I nearly cried. In fact I did, a short time later. One mom knelt beside me as I had Zoey's little belly exposed, pumping that milk into her, and before she left she leaned in and said, " I have been at this for 21 years. Go easy on yourself. No worries. Done far worse myself. She will be fine. And so will you."
And with that, she was gone. I didn't even get her name. Didn't meet her child. But it didn't really matter. At functions such as that, surrounded by what I affectionately call my 'peeps', I feel a sense of belonging. No one to take even a second glance at your child or the method you are feeding her by.It hasn't always been that way to be honest with you. The feeling of belonging I mean. And there are still days that I am not certain where I fall within the communities of Zoey's multi-level diagnoses. But lately I am much more at ease with where I am in my life with her. More so in some moments, then when I am at gatherings with my typical children. I try desperately to balance the two worlds I walk in. It is not easy, that is for sure. I don't always to it with the grace I would like. But I continue to try. And I continue to fail. And every once in awhile, I experience what I did on that Saturday morning and I realize, I do belong, if I only would allow myself to. I can be my own worse enemy I have been told and there is definitely some truth in that statement. Working on that. Really am.
Learned a lesson that day about finding the beauty amidst the chaos. Well that lesson of course and ... check the darn emergency Zoey supply bag would you, before you leave the house. Geesh.