Catie lives in Amherst and has a daughter.
What do you do to relax?
Walk the dog, read, stay in touch with friends.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
We moved back to the area last year to be closer to family. Connecting for Kids has been a great resource for us and our daughter.
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
Since COVID, I’ve participated in a few webinars with other moms. It was wonderful hearing from others who were experiencing similar stresses and to gather ideas on how to cope. My daughter also uses a wheelchair to get around and so I’ve really appreciated all the information Connecting for Kids has about accessible parks in the area. Cascade has been our favorite so far. It can feel lonely being a parent to a child with special needs, especially this past year. Connecting for Kids reminds me that I’m not alone.
Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?
Webinars for caregivers, parks info, personal connections to families with children with similar disabilities.
The area where I have grown the most...
In the last year, I’ve learned to do a better job of taking small amounts of time for myself and doing something that helps recharge me. The Coffee and Chats helped me realize that while I don’t have big blocks of time to myself-I do have small ones. And finding a way to get the most of these moments-even if they are only a few minutes-has helped me feel like I have a little more control in what goes on in my day.
What I worry about most…
Is that I’m going to fail my daughter as a parent. It’s such an important job, and because she has a disability, I feel like there are even more ways than normal that I can screw it up. I think Connecting for Kids is really important in this regard. By offering community and resources and support, it makes the task of raising a special child feel less like a burden and more like a membership into a pretty awesome club.
The best thing about parenting a child who struggles is...
That feeling of pride and awe that comes when they achieve a milestone they’ve been working towards. My daughter gets physical therapy twice a week, and I am constantly inspired by how hard she works, even as a three year old. Sometimes I hate that everything is harder for her-but she gets there on her own time, and it makes every milestone that much more special.
Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?
In addition to CFK, I am part of several Facebook groups for spina bifida.
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?
For some background, my daughter is 3 years old. She has spina bifida, and uses a wheelchair to get around. We found out about her diagnosis when I was about 20 weeks pregnant, and together we underwent fetal surgery to repair her spine in Cincinnati. She is such a fun, sweet and spunky child. I grew up in Lorain, and we moved back to the area last year. We love it here, and are so grateful for organizations like Connecting for Kids who have helped make this transition easier.