Saturday, July 7, 2012

The truth about Indianapolis

So, about this time last week I was tossing and turning in an over-sized hotel bed. Granted it was a very comfy and heavily pillowed hotel bed, but it wasn't MY bed. But I laid there, exhausted from smiling and being giddy.Worn out from the day's information-packed sessions, and drained from the overall separation anxiety that comes with being hundreds of miles away from your family. But before I finally slipped into a deep hotel coma the most encouraging thoughts filled my head and allowed me to fall asleep with a smile on my face; Every night that I was there.

-I flew above the clouds. I flew at 21,000 feet in the air. I lived.

-I met the very first person I ever talked to about Spina Bifida; about Roman. She answered my questions, eased my fears and has been a stronghold in the Spina Bifida community and to me.  My little freckle faced friend Colleen. 

-I learned what it meant to "check your baggage" and then I did it. 

-I said I was going to the conference and I actually did it. I paid my registration, booked my flight, and fell with a thump on my hotel bed. I actually did something that I said I was going to. I DID SOMETHING I SAID I WAS GOING TO DO!! 

- I spoke in front of A LOT of people. And I did okay. And I didn't cry.

- I attended a medical conference..and I didn't get bored!

- I cried in front of a lot of adults and about 9 teenagers at a medical conference. 

-I met Kemper and Beth. And we had the best time, the silliest laughs and we truly wrecked room 1217. I mean that place was gross. 

-I met Roman's future Mother-in-law. Mrs. Gilliland!! :)

 Every morning that I woke up, I did it with a smile. "I'm really here!" I'd think.  I'm with my people The people I feel comfortable with, the kids and adults whose wheelchairs don't phase me, whose AFO's don't bewilder me, the people who have too much brain to contain. The people with the badges over their SB shirts, the kids with wheels that light up, the people with service dogs, the people who take the elevator, not the stairs.  The people with the tricked out walkers, and the canes and the smiles as big as mine; because they feel it too. My people.

I could gob on forever about who I met, what we did, what I learned, what sessions I attended, how much one crab cake cost, all of the little tid-bits of information. But I won't. Because if you were there, you already know and if you weren't there, you might not want to know. 

Besides, I don't want to share my stories or my giggles and tell you where I ate or how horrible the house keepers were or reckless the cabbies were.

I want to tell you about my experience. The truth about Indianapolis. 

Since having Roman I've been utterly and hopelessly alone. Attached to my computer because, well, that's where my moms are. My SB peeps live in here, so this is where I like to frequent. We don't just wallow around and curse Spina Bifida. We praise our kids, we beam with admiration at their siblings as well as fold up with guilt, We count our lucky stars for our husbands, moms, sisters, best friends, we talk about real life issues, we talk about genuine fears, we brag about renal ultrasound results and uneventful clinic days. When one of our kids start puking in the middle of the night, we're all there. My SB moms are just a glowing light away from reminding me that I'm not really alone, but that I kind of am.

So to meet them?
How can I put into words how amazing that felt? 
How can I tell you that for 3 years they've been living at the end of an "ENTER" key, but in a different state. That they were one "SEND" button away, but a 10 hour drive? That I cried and worried for them just as they have for me during difficult times. Hospital stays, depressed days, "I can't believe somebody said that to me" days and "What should I do?" days. How can I do justice to my feelings when the only true way to express myself isn't in words, but in laughter?
For the first time since Roman was born, I didn't feel alone. I got answers, I made even more friends and I felt like I belonged. And that can't be taught in any session, it can only be felt. And it felt amazing. I can't wait for next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

The truth about Indianapolis has nothing to do with it being in Indianapolis, it has everything to do with who I was there with. My People.


  1. THat is so very awesome! :) I am a little jealous of everyone meeting....even though I was in Hawaii.

  2. Great post! So glad you got to "experience" it. I felt exactly what you described last year. I was sad to not be able to attend this year but hope to in future years. Nothing compares to being with our people. :-)

  3. Great post. It was so great to meet you! That sibling chat was amazing!

  4. Love love love. You are so good at putting it in words.

  5. Love love love. You are so good at putting it in words.

  6. Love this post!! You said it all so perfectly! I can't wait for the year when not only we see each other again, but our boys, with their awesome green rides, can meet!!! I'm sure that will "feel it" too!! Much love!

  7. It was so fun to meet and hang out! I love this post!!!!!

  8. Beautifully said! You are right, SB Conference is an 'experience' not a geographical place.