Do you run towards or flee from inevitable sunsets?
September 9 is FASD Day, commemorated during FASD Awareness Month in September.
September 9 symbolizes the ninth month of pregnancy and this day helps raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the experiences of individuals with FASD.
People are encouraged to wear red shoes, an idea by RJ Formanek, an individual with FASD, to help start conversations about FASD.
Thanks to RJ’s advocacy, Canadian landmarks from coast to coast – including CN Tower and Niagara Falls – are “turning red” this September 9.
As a caregiver of a boy with FASD, this day is a good day to pause and reflect.
This year, my reflections centre on time: plan for the future, let go of yesterday, live in the now.
I thought about this during a recent after dinner walk T and I enjoyed at the park.
He was whining about something inconsequential – I don’t even remember what – and I noticed how the days were getting shorter.
I thought about how I was going to miss that little boy voice, even at its whiny worst, when it cracks and matures one day.
In a summer that flew by with wonderful moments, one seemingly small moment that stood out was when I chopped up a watermelon for a BBQ potluck.
T came up and ate a few slices as I prepared my platter. I loved watching him relish that sweet fruit – and later again with my family.
This summer, I became particularly sensitive to how quickly childhood is flying.
When I see T running down the field during our walks, I noticed how much taller he is.
The other night, he asked me to sit on the chair next to his bed and he then sat on my lap pretending he was a toddler again and I was reading a bedtime story like I used to do with him.
He didn’t feel as light as a toddler anymore!
As parents – especially those caring for kids with additional needs – the worries never end.
We are always hyper-vigilant and thinking about and planning for the worst case scenarios.
We ruminate over how we could’ve handled things better – long after the moments have happened.
We often don’t let ourselves fully enjoy a positive moment, because we worry about when the other shoe will drop.
When we see the sun setting, the instinct is to start heading home before darkness falls.
This summer, my perspective changed: I wanna run towards the sunset.
To soak up every last moment of light before the night arrives – because it’s going to arrive anyway, regardless of which direction we run.
And on this same recent evening walk with T – with the start of the school year just around the corner – we played outside a little longer, underneath that sweet watermelon sunset.