I had “the pang” yesterday. The pang, for those of you who are unaware, is that feeling of dread, fear, anxiety that essentially takes your breath away until you realize that what you are scared of is not real. Raising a son with Down syndrome has always lead me down an interesting path. Often, fear is replaced with faith, but the initial response is the same.
Yesterday, I visited a lovely residential unit that services people with developmental disabilities. I am starting a outreach project to enhance their living quarters. Fortunately, because of the column that I write, I have lots of contacts and individuals ready and willing to help move this forward. While I was taking notes and assessing their needs, I was instantly struck by the notion of Bailey’s future.
You see, our community has a need to supply more housing opportunities for these able people who contribute so much. Unfortunately, the need is so great and the supply is not. Bailey is on a waiting list that is years and years long. We are not anxious to kick our son to the curb, but would love for him to have the experience of living independently. It pains me to realize that even as progressive as we are, we fall short in so many areas.
How as a society can we not meet the needs of those that require more from us? Then there is that ego part of me that screams “do I have to do everything”. Seriously, myself and other parents have pioneered a path for those behind us just as those before us have done. It is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. So much work to still do and while I experienced that “pang”, it resonates that while more work needs to be done, doors will open and these vital members of our community will be victorious.