Some of them I have never met in person ("IRL" = "In Real Life"), yet I am often more connected to them than to my neighbors. Some I have had the great joy to meet, once, twice or even more.
In Real Life, or just via the Internet, we have shared so much.
We each of us love someone with Down syndrome.
We each of us know what it's like to parent (or grandparent) a child with that extra chromosome.
We have compared milestones, bragged, complained about medical and support services, compared notes on IEPs and birthday parties.
Sometimes we have visited or played together - at home or while traveling. The two National Conventions I attended were mostly about CONNECTING to those other families.
Some of my Soul Sisters live nearby - Kathleen Horigan Dye, Kerri Daniels Tabasky, Debbie Ellenbogen. Some are spread across the country - Amy Parks Patterson, Michelle Beausoleil Helferich, Amy Strottman Flege, Rebecca Pho, Tara Marie Swanson Hintz, Melissa Middendorf Hart, Renee Toth, Renee Garcia. Some are in other countries - Adina Rabinowitz (and we have been so blessed to visit several times!). There are more - so many more.
Some of us started out our journey together on the T21Online chat board. Some of us were connected in person by other friends or friends-of-friends (thanks, Dori Cousley!).
Together, we parent and love these children. We give advice, offer a virtual shoulder to cry on, raise a distant wine glass in a toast to each other.
We hold our breath and pray during medical crisis.
Sometimes we have had to grieve together. Even when we grieve, it's special. I still cherish the photos of my kids - all three of them - wearing pigtails, in memory of a sweet baby who passed away after only 6 months of joy.
This is one of the secret perks of having a child with Down syndrome. This amazing Community. My Soul Sisters.
I may not have met all of you in person. I certainly don't get to see any of you often enough. Thank G-d for Facebook! I cannot imagine parenting this daughter of mine without your support, your guidance, your friendship.