“Comradery is the spirit of friendship and community in a group, like the comradery of soldiers at war who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances. In other words, someone who comes to mind when you say, “We’re in this together.” Comradery is a feeling of trust, a bond created by a shared goal or experience — you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the group to know you have their support.” ~Taken from Dictionary.com
Last year I put an ad in my community monthly magazine saying I wanted to start an Autism/Aspergers support group in our community. I was so excited to do this. I was sure that the emails would flood in. The idea of having a group of moms who GOT IT… well it made me giddy. The magazine came out and I sat back and waited. And waited and waited.
Months went by and nothing. Now I live in a BIG community and I know for a fact that I am not the only Autism mommy, and yet no one reached out to me, no one! Then one day I got an email and I excitedly wrote back to the woman. She had a small child who was recently diagnosed and she, like me, wanted desperately to connect. In fact it was by chance that she even found me because she did not even live in my community. I took her info and promised her that when others responded I would get back to her.
Every month that ad ran in the magazine and still nothing. Thankfully I had you, my readers and my Village of folks on Facebook… but still I longed for my Local Comrades. I needed to know I was not alone here in my community. I needed to know that there was at least one mom who lived by me who got it, who could share in my experiences.
Just as I was about to pull the ad I got a response. A lovely woman who not only lived in my community, her child went to the same school as mine. Several emails were exchanged and then we met. We were strangers and yet we were not. She was my comrade, someone whom I could say, “WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER” with. We met again for coffee and the two of us talked about how we wished more folks in our area would come out so to speak. We expressed to each other “OUT LOUD” things I only write to you guys. We admitted to feeling like we are part of the “BAD MOM CLUB” or at least that is what the other moms tend to make us feel like. We talked and promised to keep in touch and do it again. As I drove home from that last meeting I said a little prayer to myself that others would come forward to join us because there is so much that we can learn from one another and so so much we can do to support each other. And as if the man upstairs was just waiting for me to ask… it happened.
That night I got an email from another mom whom I quickly called back. We chatted and instantly had a great connection. She told me about a friend she had who had similar experiences with her child… and just like that it happened. We had a a community, a group.
This morning we had our first meeting. There were 5 of us and we sat around and talked about our kids and got to know one another. Each of us different and yet the same. Before we knew it 2 hours had passed by and we all needed to leave and get back to our so-called real life. We promised to get together with our children in July and in August to have a Mommy Night out. We exchanged emails and numbers, and everyone left feeling as if they had a new friend, a new person in their corner.
I tell you all this because I want you all to know that it is okay to feel alone… but it is even better to feel like you are part of a community. I love my virtual Autism mommies but there is something wonderful about sitting around with REAL live folks laughing together, shaking your head yes knowing that someone else gets it, has been there, speaks your same language.
I am just one person and yet I was able to connect 5 strangers together today and you know what… that is incredible. It took time but it happened. You can do it to. You just have to reach out and be open to it. I know that is easier said then done. Perhaps you are not ready to do that yet, and that is fine. But one day, one day you will wake up and be ready to have a COMRADE!
“Comradery is a feeling of trust, a bond created by a shared goal or experience — you don’t have to be best friends with everyone in the group to know you have their support.” Be open, be brave, be supportive… reach out to another special needs mom and invite her for coffee. You will be surprised just how much you BOTH NEED IT!