This weekend I was reminded that I'm part of a club. This club is very inclusive, and you can't join unless you meet certain qualifications. Most people don't even want to join the club.....but once they are wisked into it, most are quite happy to be a part of it.
I was reminded of this fact when I was at Costco with a few of my boys. Gavin was tucked away in his stroller. As we walked the isles of the store, I noticed a lady looking at him and smiling. This always makes me happy, because I love that Gavin can make others happy just by being him!
The boys and I finished our shopping and we headed to the check out. As soon as we walked away from the register, we were greeted by the same lady and her husband. They were holding up a cell phone with a picture of a boy on it. They both had a huge smiles on their faces, and said, "We have one too!" I knew exactly what they were talking about, even before I studied the picture on their phone. They were refering to their "winner."
If you don't know what a "winner" is, here's an explanation: I was taught this term a couple of years ago by a Mom who has a "winner" of her own. A "winner" is a person who has Down syndrome, or some other form of special needs. This lady told me that this is what she refers to those who are born with a little something extra. And, I couldn't agree with her more! They are all winners in my eyes!
Anyway, this couple at Costco went on to tell me about their boy, who also has Down syndrome. We talked a few minutes, sharing stories and diagnoses....and it was as if we'd been friends forever! We just "got" each other...all thanks to our special boys!
We are blessed to be part of this club! Our boys are the reasons we are allowed membership. We may not have wanted to join the club, but here we are.....and we are like family because of it!
In fact, they were having a 6th birthday party for their son the next day, and we were invited to the party! That's how close these friendships are in this special club! Our family doesn't even get invited to some of our own family's birthday parties, but here is a family we had just met....and they invited us to join them! It's because we ARE a family! We have an instant bond, because we can relate to each other like no one else!
We've been through the heartache, the daily struggles....and we know the feelings that have formed deep inside us, thanks to having our special children!
We may not have chosen to join this special club, but now that we are in it, we embrace the goodness that comes from being a member. We are given challenges that most people will never understand. We are taught lessons that most people will never learn! We are also given a love that most may never feel.
I am so thankful to be part of this club.....even through the hardships, long nights, long days, the worry, and the demands that have been placed on us since becoming a member of this organization! And, I am so thankful that God brings others into my life who truly understand the life that He has called us to live!
Next to the membership that I have been blessed to be called into....that of being a member of God's Kingdom.....I am most thankful for the kinship I feel with those who have been placed into this special calling.....The calling of caring for one of God's most weak and precious creatures! The calling of being a special needs parent! Once you are part of this club, and once you get used to the new normal that comes with this calling, I guarantee you won't regret it in the end!
May God bless all of you who are part of this club, and may He give you peace, strength and grace as you fulfill the work He has intended for you! Thanks for being part of my family and for supporting us along the way! Hugs!!!
"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." I Corinthians 12:26