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.