Community Rocks

As the sun descended over Georgian Bay, crowds started gathering on the rocks by the water.

It was our second night of camping at beautiful Killbear and we were enjoying an after dinner walk to soak in our final evening.

Sitting by the rocks to watch the sunset is a tradition and I love how calming it is.

It made me think about communal experiences that bring people together, like parties, school, church, concerts, parades, fireworks, and so on.

There is something beautiful about people co-existing in a shared experience, everyone drawing their own meaning from the moment.

Today is FASD Day and it is celebrated annually on September 9 to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, an invisible disability that impacts 3 per cent of the population.

The hubby, T and I have been on the FASD journey for over 7 years – each day bringing new successes, challenges and lessons.

One key reason we’ve been able to find success in the daily chaos is community.

These include direct supports such as our family and friends, school staff, community and specialized services such as the amazing Surrey Place and Community Living.

Indirect supports include online support groups and advocates whose work I admire from afar.

And of course, the amazing WordPress community who enrich my “free therapy” blogging with your kind and supportive comments.

A fellow Canadian blogger sent me a kind email this week to show his support for the parenting journey.

He drew parallels to his experience working with individuals with FASD:

“On their best behaviours they were two fabulous human beings, but they could change in seconds into two handfuls of stubborn button- pushing assholes that I could not control.”

Not everyone with FASD is like this, of course, but I had quite the chuckle, because he described T at his hardest moments.

Communities can form around anything – like this gorgeous daily sunset.

I am appreciative of the advocates who’ve built communities around FASD that has enriched my family and parenting.

In turn, the hubby and I have spent the last seven years doing our best to build and advocate for community around T.

We are protective of this community.

I recognize that more work to advocate, raise awareness, reduce stigma needs to be done – and I hope to do my part to grow the FASD community.

Communities thrive when there are moments to come together to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.

Bare feet on smooth rocks, cool comfortable breeze, sitting silently next to each other, calming swishing water.

T spent most of his time playing with boys as they gathered around a puddle, trying to catch a frog.

Then a big fluffy dog caught his eye and he asked the owners if he could pet the dog – and well, they got along beautifully.

After the sun dipped below the tree line on the horizon, the crowds dispersed.

Then we headed back to our campsite to start a fire.

29 thoughts on “Community Rocks

  1. Looks like a fabulous spot to watch the sunset. No wonder so many other people were there. You captured some gorgeous shots. I can’t get over how adorable that picture is of T petting that dog. I also like how you’ve connected this all back to the importance of community and having a sense of belonging. You should be proud of how much you’ve contributed to your own community and for how much support you’ve provided T.

    1. Thank you Linda. I love Killbear and at the expense of overkill, I have one more post coming about it. 😆

      Community is so important indeed and I decided to join Surrey Place’s Parent Advisory Council to give back time and knowledge as it’s so important. 🙏

      And that dog photo indeed is adorable. T’s face is beyond cute in it.

      Hope you’re enjoying your short week back.

  2. This is so heartwarming and beautiful. Community is indeed very important. When you find the right people, you know you’ll be safe with them, and you can be a better version of yourself. I’m glad you’ve found one. Despite all the challenges with T, it’s good to know that you’re able to see the beauty in everything.

    1. Thanks Bama. Community is so important for families like ours and kids like T – and thanks for being a part of my WordPress community. 😊

  3. Love this post commemorating FASD Day and the community. I love, “Communities thrive when there are moments to come together to rest, reflect and rejuvenate.”

    That resonates so much with me. And I love the picture of T with the dog looking up adoringly. You are doing such a great job raising T, building a family, creating community and FASD awareness. I’m glad you got some time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate! <3

    1. Thanks Wynne. I appreciate the support. You’ve been there for nearing 3 years now. 😊 Time flies.

      And yes, the dog just killed me. I can’t remember the name of the breed but it’s definitely one we’d consider if we ever got a therapy dog for T. Personally, I hand a soft spot for golden retrievers the most. We hiked by a family with one during our camping trip and it was adorable.

      1. I’m with you on the soft spot for goldens – they are so incredibly patient and loving. And that one looks so similar to a golden. Yes, I think T needs a therapy dog!! In my book, we all do…. 🙂

  4. Community is everything. It’s beautiful how we form different communities, as you’ve mentioned–around a location, a diagnosis, a hobby, and more. It’s a beautiful thing to feel we’ve found “our people,” isn’t it? Thanks for this, Ab. It brightened my day. 🙂

    1. Thanks Vickie. That dog was beyond adorable. We have two cats already so we won’t be getting a dog right now as we already feel bad for barely giving them attention. 😆

      1. Isn’t it sobering? It’s also a stat that many feel is lowballed, because people often misdiagnose it for things like ADHD or parents don’t disclose prenatal drinking for a variety of reasons.

        It is an invisible disability that is more common than Down’s syndrome and autism combined. I say this not say one is more important than the other but to just illustrate how prevalent yet little understood, aware or supported it is.

      2. Absolutely, Ab. My mom’s best friend had an adopted boy my age who was my best friend through childhood, and his biological mother had been drinking and doing during through the pregnancy, unbeknownst to the adoptive parents. To my knowledge, the diagnosis back then was just “behavioral issues.”

        Unfortunately, that young man has taken some wrong turns in life despite solid parenting, but I think it could be different if he had been born today with the burgeoning FASD community, resources available, and other parents bravely sharing their stories. I think what you’ve doing here is more important that you realize. ❤️

      3. That is very sad to think about your mother’s friend’s adopted son. But it speaks to the current research into FASD and adolescence and the high risk for challenges, including mental health, substance abuse, run in with the Justice system. All very sobering things that keep me up at night. Hopefully with more awareness, supports and services in place we can start to change the narrative and outcomes.

      4. Yes, I think that’s part of the reason you blog has touched me on such a deep level. I’ve seen the suffering J and his family have gone through, and I find myself praying almost everyday for a different outcome for T. It does seem as if there is more awareness and there are more tools available. And, perhaps, most importantly, a stable home with patient (most of the time 😊) and understanding parents. ❤️

      5. Thanks for keeping T in your prayers. 😊 It’s good to keep the faith and work hard towards the best outcomes possible.

    1. Thanks Diane. I love these photos too for the memories and feelings they recreate.

      And yes, FASD is more common than many people realize and I wish more awareness raising and supports can be in place. It is the number one preventable disability and also very misunderstood.

  5. So many moments of love you are making and sharing as a family. I hope challenges don’t seem quite as big when you have the ability to look back on all that your family is accomplishing, and amazing moments like this post shares. Sunsets never fail to make me smile and feel grateful. Thank you Ab 🙂

    1. Thanks Deb. We find summer exhausting cuz we try to pack so much into it as it’s so short but you’re right, it’s worth it for the moments we create.

      The challenges definitely don’t feel as big once we are able to have distance from them and to look at them with the larger picture in perspective. Thank you. 😊

      And yes, the more sunsets we can all enjoy together, the better!

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! I hope your run went well. We didn’t run but did the equivalent of 5Km (more than 5km) actually in biking and hiking in support of your cause! 😊🙏

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