I was recently dismayed to discover that I’m stumped for conversation when I get together with moms who don’t have a kid with a disability. I immediately dive into heavy topics, and seem unable to engage in simple chitchat. I fear that I’ve socially segregated myself. Too much heavy. Not enough fun.
Aaron is 11 years old and I am still in need of peer support – perhaps as much as I did when Aaron was first born. I am very fortunate to have a handful of super women to lean upon. If I’m stuck for a strategy or I just have to vent, there’s a flurry of texting, emailing and calling. Us moms rarely get together for something else, however; we rarely get together to have FUN.
On Saturday night, I went out with four other Down Syndrome Moms. To clarify, the moms did not have Down syndrome; but we all have kids with Down syndrome. (Only moms with kids with Down syndrome will find this wordplay amusing). There was a food and wine festival at our convention centre. It was like a massive trade show for eating and drinking that morphed into a rowdy crowded bar scene as the evening wore on.
We got dressed up, teetering on heels & sporting sparkly outfits, with $20 bills stuffed into our purses. Our husbands dropped us off downtown, and we spent the next four hours gleefully spending coupons at booths for charcuterie plates, mac & cheese, chocolate and cupcakes. We cruised around for little samples of flavoured vodka and fruity beer. Every once in a while, we paused at a stand-up table to chat.
As organizer, I took it upon myself to offer only one rule: No talking about school. No talking about our kids’ school situation; how many times we’d been called by the principal last week; how our kids get zero birthday party invitations; how we struggle with funding to support our kids; how curriculums aren’t being adapted. Talking about what became known as the ‘s’ word was not allowed. If you mentioned the ‘s’ word, you’d have to buy the posse a round of drinks.
This was effective and surprisingly freeing. We were liberated from a topic that normally dominates our conversations. I guarantee that anybody who has a child over the age of ten with any sort of difference is obsessed with the education system. Instead, we talked about current events, politics, fashion, food, favourite drinks, movies, music, and winter holiday plans. It was terrific and awfully normal. There’s certainly a time for advocacy and venting. And then there’s a time for fun.
Cheers to you, my awesome lady friends. Thanks for all the giggles. xo.