Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Walking with My Buddies

So, ya. I've had a slide show of our Buddy Walk(s) this year ready for a while now. (what is a Buddy Walk? click HERE) I've been putting off posting it until I had time to write about it. Frankly, 31 for 21 is exhausting and so for today I'm just posting the basic details.

We had our Buddy Walk at Mark's university on October 3rd. It was huge and lovely. I was supposed to help with raffles and even went to a few meetings but they let me off the hook, just for this year. What's that? Freedom to just BE at a Buddy Walk!? Best.gift.ever.

Team Sophie arrived in our gear and I swore I wasn't going to cry this year. However, when they have a football team lining the entrance cheering "Go Team Sophie" I challenge you not to shed a tear. Throughout the walk they had teams of cheerleaders and volunteers cheering us on and it was really, really touching. The most touching part, however, was having our new friends Maureen, Ras, and baby Samuel represent Team Sophie. Having them there, especially as we didn't have family here this year was perfect.

Then the next week Sophie and I walked with our new friends Grace and her mom Ann in a neighboring county's Buddy Walk. I had gone to a parent's social when we first moved out here and was pleasantly surprised at how many cool people I already knew. I even got to meet a woman in person from the T21 Club in Philly that I had only spoke with on the phone prior to moving out here.

Both were gorgeous fall days. Both had me in tears multiple times. Make no mistake. They were happy tears and if I had to describe the Buddy Walk experience in just one word, I would have to say "community." It is a place to celebrate our families with loved ones who have Down syndrome in a place where acceptance and inclusion are the rule.

Not everybody on their acceptance journey was ready for a Buddy Walk this year. I have certainly come a long way from our first Buddy Walk, read HERE If you are a parent to a child with Ds and you're not ready to go, be kind to yourself and let it go. Love your child. That's more than enough.

embedded video below
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Jeez, guess I had more to ramble on about than I thought, ha!

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