My life used to look so different. Brian and I waited to have children for 6 years, partially because I was not sure I wanted to be a mother, and partially due to the experiences during my employ at UT Medical in Child Neurology division. ("Brian, God gives you the child he wants you to have, and they do not come with guarantees.”) First rattle out of the box, came Marin. I remember the night I gave birth to my beautiful first child, my daughter, a rainbow baby. After laboring for over 10 hours, she came into the world. It was not like the tv births, where the mom gives one final push and you hear a cry; there was only intermittent internal whimpering from my newborn baby. She did not cry. “She did not cry.” The hindsight moments I would experience in motherhood had just begun. For the first two years of her life, I was minimally functioning. My baby never slept. We lived in a world where I was either enveloped in deathly silence or ear-piercing shrieks. I was living a world away from my support system in Houston (due to a temporary job transfer). And SO TIRED. There was never any time for me. I never had an hour to myself, and I was an absolute mess trying to figure out this child.
We transferred back to Houston with a 21 month old child and a one week old baby. This was an instance where I am profoundly aware that God was putting me where we needed to be. I contacted my former UT Child Neurology colleagues and said “I am drowning, and I do not know what is going on with my daughter. Please help me.” And help me, they did. Any appointment I was instructed to be at was scheduled within the week. I was first on the list for clinics, therapists, world-renowned physicians. I had a VIP pass I never thought I would need, and used it liberally.
It was the 7 year anniversary of my daughter’s autism diagnosis on April 30, and our world is light years away from the abyss I was surviving in from 2009-2012. As I entered the world of autism moms in the Houston area, I learned just how valuable my contacts were, and just how complicated it was to navigate the disconnected systems that could improve quality of life for entire families. Three years ago, I parlayed that into a career; I wanted ALL families, connected or not, to be able to utilize my VIP pass.
I am grateful for the progress my daughter has (thankfully) made, and realize not all who exist in our world will get to a point where they can just relax for a bit, to breathe, to put themselves first, even for a day. Much like wanting to share my VIP pass, I want to run for the moms who cannot take a moment for themselves, for the children who are struggling in spite of their parents’ efforts, for my daughter who will certainly face more adversity in her life than the average person. I run because I can, and because I am aware of so many mothers who simply cannot.
Any money raised for Steel Magnolias will benefit the mothers of special needs children.