October 31, 2022
Hey hey hey #GoodOnes,
Finally! A newsletter update. Halloween seems like the perfect day to restart our newsletter with a news-letter. If you missed it, our last was published in early July. Then, maybe it seemed, we fell off the map. There is a reason why, and it is called CYBER BULLYING. It happens all the time, to people of all ages and in all walks of life. It’s ugly, damaging, and disheartening. At some points over the summer, I actually questioned our physical safety.
Yes. It gave me pause. The more we have experienced bullying, the more I know the extent of the education that still needs to be done. I know that there is a world of people out there who don’t understand only because they have not had the opportunity to get to know someone like Jessica.
Unfortunately, there are those out there who prefer to find fault. An attitude that refuses to accept the potential of communities rallied around exploring and celebrating the differences among us. They want to promote the concept that if you can’t be ‘fixed’, you’re ‘wrong’ and if parents can’t ‘fix’ their children (including adult-children) then parents are failing. There exists a mindset that refuses to accept and acknowledge disability and its far-reaching impact in families.
But you know what? I’m not here to engage and fight with non-believers. So why am I here?
Jessica turned 35 this summer, which means 35 years of motherhood and 35 years of caregiving for me. We are coming up on 8 years of sharing on Instagram. As I reflect on the years, what I know for sure is that progress never stops. We live our lives. We learn. We grow. It has been an unexpected joy to share snippets of our lives with you.
My blogging started as a way to make some sense of our lives. What began as a side hobby has evolved into my full-time passion to help families gain insight and awareness of what everyday life experience can be like when sharing life with a dependent adult-child with special needs. Throughout the last 35 years we have faced frequent challenges and frustrations, but we have found even more joy, silliness, laughs, and good times.
What about Jess? What does she want? Does she want to share?
Yes. Absolutely, she does. How do we know? She tells us. But not just us, she also independently talks to her self-appointed team of stakeholders about it. Who is her team? Friends, family, and acquaintances, attorneys, members of law enforcement, a counselor, a social worker and support coordinator, a trust specialist, members of her healthcare team, etc.
Why does Jess want to share? She wants to be better understood. In her lifetime, she has had traumatic experiences with people who didn’t understand her. Some under-estimated her abilities, while at the same time others over-estimated her abilities. Most absolutely did not understand her communication challenges. Most have no idea the extent of her diagnoses and how they affect her life and abilities.
Another huge reason she likes sharing is that it has opened up her world. Never in her lifetime has she had so many connections and friends. Yes, real friends. People she and we have met, and some she talks to on the phone and hopes to meet some day.
And there are many people who she is connected to from our small group livestreams. She recognizes their names, and details of their lives that have been read to her during the streams, like how many dogs someone has, or who has been sick, or who is having or had a baby.
These connections to people have broadened her interest and understanding in the outside world. It has been wonderful. The sense of purpose Jess has discovered is beyond what anyone could have predicted.
We want to let you all know that we are still here and will continue our mission to share a joyful life. As always, your personal stories of encouragement, love, and support mean the world to us.
With gratitude, Val.
PS for those interested in a quick refresher on what we are all about, we hope you enjoy this short bideo.
In case you missed them, please see below for some of our favorites from the last several months: