It was the title of a display in one of the numerous tables in the resource room during the Special Parent Information Network (SPIN) conference I attended last Saturday.
A woman was standing next to the display, all smile.
"Parent, professional, organization?" She was referring to the three types of participants in the conference.
"Parent," I quipped.
SPIN is a network of parents of children and young adults with disabilities and professionals and organizations that provide information, support and services to them.
"Boy or girl?"
"Boy, 6 yrs. old."
"What type of diagnosis?"
And she started sharing about her two boys - tone upbeat, eyes lit. According to her, both have learning disability. And after all the struggles, they are now grownups, excelling in their chosen fields, engineering and accountancy to be specific, and living a full life. She handed me a business card, a copy of the book and encouraged me to keep my advocacy for my son.
"My sons would probably be in a mental institution or in a group residence if I was passive. There is always hope. Keep on going."
I thanked her and we shook hands. I moved to the next table inspired by two very compelling success stories.
I hopped from one table to another. And a few walk away from the first table was another mother with yet another story.
It was not a success story. Hers was a story of progressive decline. Her son went from an active, young boy to a young adult in catatonic stage. But like the first Mom I talked with, she was passionate. Her son's journey brought her to starting a non-profit aimed at helping families walking a similar path.
"It has always been my worry what would happen to him when I am gone," she said with teary eyes.
"True, all mothers have the same worry," I said while nodding.
We hugged and thanked each other for the time.
I hope to limit myself to success stories only. However, reality is, there are some disability stories that are grim, and are not necessarily happy ending. They are grim that they could quench your hope. They are grim that they hurt.
There was a lump in my throat as I wander looking for one of the assigned rooms for workshops.
I remember the first time I filled-up a medical record form for my son's new dentist. The same lump was there as I slowly write "autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" under the medical condition entry.
I, however, learned to rein over that lump for it not to crawl up my eyes and break into tears. I slowly became immune to its shadow.
There is no guarantee that my son will outgrow his ASD diagnosis, but moment like this serves as an open invitation to trust God. Again. And again. And again. Until His return.
"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6 NIV
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