20 Years Or So

Dear Addie,

 Before we found ourselves on this journey, a once younger version of myself never thought about some of the things that now consume my days. Like how many days can you really efficiently function without sleep, or can a kid survive solely on tacos and popcorn? For that matter, is popcorn considered a vegetable?

Once we became parents, our lives changed. We found a new, deeper -almost indescribable love for all of you. We learned rather quickly the strength of patience (and how it is tested almost daily), and a deep sense of responsibility combined with a heavy dose of worry. We worry about many things, but mostly about guiding you all in the right direction to learn what you need to know to become happy, healthy and one day independent adults in our society.

Welcome to parenthood - no pressure.

You see Addie while most parents can relate to all these things, our journey includes a path that not many have to follow. It can sometimes seem rather dark as we often don’t understand exactly what we are looking for. The author of Autism From a Dads Eye View explains it quite perfectly...

“Every parent plans to raise their child for 18 years. Set them free for 30 years, and then hope they come back to help them face the final years of their own life.”

“A special needs parent plans to raise their child for 60 years, and while doing so also has to prepare for the other 20 years or so after they themselves are long gone...”

Hit the nail on the head there!

So while we navigate our day to day challenges like sleep, behavior, and sensory distress, it’s never far from our minds of how you as adult Addie will navigate the world when mommy and daddy and no longer here and able to help.

Luckily for us, and I say this a lot, you have hands down the very best siblings anyone could ever ask for! Clara and Gabe (if I’m being honest, it makes me a little sad that our 12 and 10 year old can sense this anxiety in me, because they should be just enjoying childhood) have promised that they will always be ready to help you however possible if you should ever require or need anything as you get older. While that makes my heart soar with love and happiness, naturally as we all grow older we look forward to a life of independence and who’s to say you won’t want and deserve that too?

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Which brings us to today, trying to balance life in the present and the future. Where is that dang crystal ball? For as daunting as this seems and is, there is hope.

We were blessed last year to stumble upon this amazing little camp called 3 Bluebirds Farm (formerly 3 Irish Jewels Farm), and it was here that we met an amazing woman (the director of the program) that understood us to our core. We also were introduced to a wonderful summer camp program that you truly enjoy. But that’s not all, it also houses a vision that softens the worry and brings light to that distant dark path.

The goal here at 3 Bluebirds Farm will offer a person-centered home to adults with autism where they can thrive and continue to grow and learn. The tranquil agricultural setting will provide a well structured residence with safety, cohesiveness and serenity. Well trained staff who are familiar with the resident farmers’ special needs will assist the farmers in learning and discovering new skills, encouraging them to reach their fullest potential. In turn, the resident farmers will experience appropriate and rewarding work, along with organized leisure time and social activities.

As a community within a larger community, 3 Bluebirds Farm will strive to educate the general public about autism awareness and will invite community members to volunteer in farming activities and special events. 3 Bluebirds Farm will collaborate with the many universities and schools around the Triangle and provide internships, classes, volunteer opportunities, as well as educational workshops and support groups to the general public.

Their long-term goal is to create a pilot program in the Triangle of NC, nurture it and grow it to the best it can possibly be, and then open more around the state, and then around the country. Because they know that they will be at capacity within just moments of opening, and there is a need for hundreds more of 3BBFs around the country.

I think it’s pretty safe to say we support this vision 100%, but with this comes the need for funding to make it all happen.

Insert the annual Bluebird Ball and a bonus night out for mommy and daddy - yes please!

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It’s here that mommy dresses like a princess (if only for one night) and our loving community raises money through auction artwork - created by all of you and your teachers at camp. Side note: We were once again the lucky recipients of some one of a kind art pieces for our home!

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It is a night where those of us living this journey come together with those who passionately support our community and raise money in an effort to make a better future for our loved ones like yourself. Truly a beautiful evening.

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I’m happy to report it was once again a wildly successful night of education, funding, laughter and love - and I got to wear a princess dress :).

So Addie, while we find ourselves thinking of things we thought we never would, we enjoy it because it’s all for you.

We love you so much.

 

Love,

Mom