I wrote this in the morning as we were heading out the door to drive to Welland to attend the walk;
"Why do we walk? We walk to raise awareness, we walk to show our support, we walk for a change to be made, we walk in hope for maybe one day a cure to be found, and we walk with the most important people in our lives held strong by love and acceptance. Personally why do I walk along with those reasons? I walk because my boys deserve every chance that any other child has, I walk because I had to Wait...tto hear the word, "mama" at 3 years old from Owen because he couldn't say it, I walk because I needed support when Ben wouldn't stop tantruming and hitting himself on his head, I walk for my 2 beautiful sons because we are proud of the boys they are, and the Family we have become. Team Owen and Ben, today is the day. Xo"
There are experiences and environments that I literally cannot describe what happens to me personally, like with the previous post about the Makeover from The Marilyn Denis show; it changed me. It brought me back, reminded me that even though I am a mom, workout-a-holic, taxi for the kids, therapist, counsellor, teacher, fulltime support worker, wife, preschool president; I need to take that time for me as well. This experience, like the years in the past was monumental in a different way.
The first year was still new, it was 3 months after the diagnoses of Owen so it was still very raw for us at that time. Ben was just born;so many emotions were circulating; but the response and support was overwhelming.
The second year was inspiring; not only was it another year we were walking for the cause so close to our hearts, it thunderstormed. When it rains; Owen hates the feeling of rain on his clothing, so he wants to strip. When it began to rain Owen and I were half way done, and I am so proud to say he kept the majority of his clothes on and we walked the 5KM together; and we crossed the finish line together. All I could do was cry, I was so overwhelmed with love and emotions; and I believe in that moment it was just Owen and I; and I could feel he knew it would be him and I through it all, through life together, I will always be there for him.
This year was a year of change; we had a lot new friends join us and bring such a huge amount of support and love for the cause with them, people came to support us that I have never met in my life, which meant so much more to me. We had our amazing family in our corner, and of course a special shout out to my best friend Valerie and her children for attending 3 years strong with our family, her love and support continuously means the world to me; thank you. This year, Owen and Maddie did the whole walk! The weather was amazing; no rain! no overcast! and my family let me run the 5K alone; which was a personal goal. Running that 5K not only proved to myself how physically strong I have become in 3 years, but it has also reminded me how mentally strong I am; and how we as Autism parents have to be.
There is a bond between us all; a bond that people only in our situation and truly understand. It is hard; this journey with Autism will make you or break you; and the strength and unity at an event like this honestly brings you back, in a good way; to the rawness and reality of Autism.
Our team finished 2nd in fundraising! HUGE accomplishment and our t-shirts I had made by All your Vinyl Needs were voted best shirts by Smarty Pants Educational. We sold over 100 shirts to friends and family, and I cannot wait to wear those shirts again next year and beat our goal!!
Thank you to everyone who donated, walked, ran or strolled with us Xo.