Writing can be in your soul. The way you watch words appear on your favored device or old-time typewriter, sprouting from your fingertips with an effortlessness that betrays you when the same words are attempted to be spoken. I’m a writer, I say. I write. I don’t speak. My words jumble and I get distracted and lose my train of thought; and honestly, if I spoke the way I wrote… I would sound silly. Writing is different for me, should I allow it to take hold in the moments when the words flood me. I can sing a written story beautiful enough to capture your heart, or force you to tears or simply put you in the same space as my thoughts at that moment. When I speak, I blubber. No one wants to read blubber, much less hear it…I stopped writing for so many undefined reasons. I felt I had nothing to say. I felt our journey was…normalizing (HA!).

My daughter became old enough to search me out on her own at school, and she and her friends started reading what I had to say. What if I offended her, or my other son, or any of my kids? What if I made them feel less than…something I’d never want to do because they’re so much more than… my daughter says she’s “extra”. Whatever hip thing that means.

Leaving to tend to my family, then returning (to writing) has happened before. I’m called to writing about the hope that we need to sustain us as parents of children with special needs. And I’ve come to that again; but this time it sticks. Our family continues to find struggles where we’d hope there were none. My husband has retired from law enforcement and we’ve decided to chase our passions and had such a difficult time doing that. That’s a story in and of itself. But in the end, we are finding ways to follow our true passions: those forged by the connection and love, ever endearing heartache / heartbreak and complete envelopment in love that our son has given us. What we have learned from him and through him, and the community he has allowed us to become a part of has changed us forever.

What I’ve come to realize and truly believe is something I’ve found myself saying time and again. We really are a community. You and I, other parents of children with special needs, other family members, caregivers, siblings, teachers, therapists, specialists. We are a community. A community with a purpose and drive so different from so many others. We have experiences that cannot find words, thoughts shared that need no explanation. An automatic connection of “I get it”. “I see you”. I know what you’re going through, what you’re worried about, caring about, tired from, hopeful for. I know why your messages are inconsistent, why you text instead of call, how many things you’re juggling and still trying to pretend you have your own “you”. I am you. You are me. We are a single community. Regardless of that which makes our lives “different”, we are the same.

I can’t deny that there’s fighting amongst us. Differences of opinion. What we forget yet need to keep at the forefront is that all of us are sad and grateful and angry and hopeful and steadfast in our commitment to what we’re doing for similar reasons. That’s what makes us connect; that’s what makes us strong; that’s what makes us the warriors we need to be for our loved ones. And that’s why I’m excited to announce that Special Happens is returning. Bigger. Better. With so much more to come.

With the changes that will be coming to Special Happens, which I began in 2010, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to partner with this incredible publication, Denver Parent Magazine, in the place I call home, to help give a voice to the voiceless. To give hope to those in despair. To keep an eye on what we have around us, in our community, in our neighborhoods, that can help us in our continued quest to move forward, always with hope, for those we love.

I thank them for allowing me to reach out to you, and I hope together we’ll build each other up and discover what amazing resources we have here, in our backyards, to help those we love the most to become the best them they can be.