The best things in life are not free.
Thanksgiving a year ago vs today, the dinner table is cozier and I am reminded how life flies by.
Friday was a PA Day and I took T to a fun and free activity organized by Surrey Place, the amazing organization that has supported our family since he was 18 months, when FASD was just a prognosis; formally diagnosed in 2022.
The event was a chance for caregivers and kids with FASD, 8 to 15, to hang out in person, after caregivers spent the past year getting to know each other through a virtual group.
The two-hour get together consisted of three parts: grooming horses, a picnic then a hike.
During breakfast at home, I mused out loud, “We’re putting six kids that have challenges with hyperactivity, attention, impulsivity and regulation in a room with horses. What could possibly go wrong?”
T quickly piped up, “I’ll get kicked in the butt.” 😆
But the activity went well. T was anxious at first, but the patient staff got him to brush and groom the horse.
I often read about equine therapy as an effective wellbeing tactic for kids with additional needs and I could see how it was indeed a calming activity.
And T didn’t get kicked in the face! If you set the bar low, you exceed your expectations! 😂
Afterwards, the kids enjoyed a picnic, thoughtfully prepared by Surrey Place staff, then played with each other in the open field, all bursting with kinetic energy.
It was T’s first time knowingly interacting with other kids with FASD and I felt peace and camaraderie as I watched similarly tempered kids enjoying being themselves.
We ended the outing with a short hike and I enjoyed talking to the other caregivers. I felt like we got each other and it felt so refreshing.
T is already super excited about the next meetup in December; a visit with therapy dogs. 🐶
Life as a parent of a child with FASD is challenging and on most days, it beats the crap out of me.
I reflected a lot the past week about the saying “the best things in life are free.”
They really aren’t.
Even love and life itself come with a cost.
When we open up our hearts to love, we also open ourselves up to heartache and grief. But we risk it all to receive love in return.
When we choose to live life fully, we open ourselves up to disappointment and failure. But we risk it all for joy, adventure, laughter and connection.
This is what being T’s parent is all about. We face the hardships head on, because of the sweet rewards that come with the challenges.
As I’m reminded this Thanksgiving, the best things in life, such as family, friends, health, community and the outdoors, are immeasurably priceless.