Then magic happened. Surreal, mind-blowing synchronicity.
We plan and God laughs, but I have learned to listen. My plan was to stay at home full-time until our children were in school. I traded in my working mom role to be a stay-at-home mom a mere handful of days before Sophia came bursting into our lives and changed us all from the inside out. Despite being unemployed, I continued my work as a volunteer advocate in my new and beloved community of families who love someone with a disability. The accomplishments I'm most proud of, such as two consecutive years heading the Champaign/Urbana Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, and the 1/2 day conference on safety issues for families and professionals, were born of a deeply seated passion, pain, and desire to improve this amazing world of ours.
Looking back at my life, a distinct pattern is glaringly obvious. I am drawn to people (usually women, but not always) who have great strength, compassion, power, beauty, selflessness, and a desire to help others. They are innovators with take-charge personalities who work tirelessly and are at once made of steel, yet are gentle as the rain. These are the people I crave to be around and hope to emanate.
A universal truth is that we learn the most from our adversities, pain, and failures. If I had not been raised in a home with an alcoholic and abusive father (sober 4.5 years now), I might not have started my work as a teen advocate for child abuse victims. I probably wouldn't have worked for 2+ years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA. The skills gained during this time and my understanding of the importance of serving others led me to my work as an advocate for victims of domestic violence for many years. Without Sophia I would surely have missed out on the soul-altering joy that comes with a membership in the disability community.
Trust. Faith. Letting go of the frenetic need to have control. Patience. Lessons I keep learning.
In my new corner of the world I was blessed to connect with 3 beautiful souls immediately after moving here. Cecilia encouraged me to attend a disability advocacy training called C2P2-EI. As a participant, I receive emails about local trainings, events, conferences, and job opportunities.
Out of the clear blue sky I read an email from this group that sent shock waves through my system. I was shaken. I kept hearing a line from Oscar in the movie Armageddon when they are about to launch in a rocket:
"Great, I got that "excited/scared" feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it's more - It could be two - it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that's what makes it so intense, it's so - confused. I can't really figure it out."