This weekend Beth and I are in Dallas, TX. So far we haven’t experienced anything that would alert us to being in Texas, no cowboy sitings, big hair or long-horns grazing in open fields not even a mechanical bull. We’ve spent most our time in the Sheraton Grand Hotel because we’re here to reconnect with old friends that we only get to see once a year.
Unbeknownst, until a few years ago, to Beth or myself I passed on a rare hereditary genetic alteration. While it is not life threatening it is life altering. Because of how rare it is and the special nature of the condition it can make you feel different or separated from your peers. But not when we’re at this conference. When we’re here we are just like every other woman that is also here. The amazing thing about being with a group of women that all have the same rare condition is that you instantly feel a connection with all of them. Amazing women that we would never, under normal circumstances, get the chance to meet now feel like our extended family. Especially the other teenage girls which instantly become Beth’s sisters. The connection and love that the girls have for each other within minutes of meeting each other is amazing to witness. As parents and carriers we are also bonded, we have other parents that have gone through the same experiences. I don’t have to be careful about my words or how I explain the condition so that I don’t infringe on Beth’s right to privacy. When I’m at the conference I know that every parent here has gone through the same testing, the same conversations with Drs, the same heartbreak and eventually the same acceptance of our new path.
While we’re at the conference we have workshops that we get to sit in on, we have social times, swimming, food, hanging out and lots of crying. It’s an emotional weekend, not so much for Beth; she has a complete acceptance of her condition and doesn’t carry any sadness or feelings of loss. But as a parent (an emotional one at that) I cannot listen to the other parent’s stories or the other adult women’s stories without feeling their pain. But through all the crying and the talking is how we all heal. We can forgive ourselves for passing on this condition to our daughters. And we can rejoice at how happy and well adjusted the girls are all becoming. We can celebrate the new relationships they have developed and be thankful for the new friends that they have made. And know that now they have peers that they can discuss their specific life’s challenges with.
We are so grateful to be here with our old friends that we are reconnecting with and our new friends that we have just met. Even without seeing any cowboys we’re happy to be in Texas.