To give my readers here a bit of a heads up, I am on a couple of advocacy boards for autism awareness and pediatric medical preparedness as a “parent advocate”. Months ago I was asked to go to a conference to meet with other special needs/medical advocates from all over the United States. So here is my response to the experience…
I actually did a grownup thing, outside the house… Without kids. In fact I did it independently without my husband too. Ok let’s be honest, I couldn’t even leave the house without help, and especially without childcare! Because if no one helped watch my kids, I’m not going anywhere by myself 😅 But thankfully my father in law and my husband tag teamed the kiddos so I could do some real advocacy work for children.
I was invited to go to a conference and participate with adults… And I packed my own suitcase, found my plane terminal, got my Uber, and found my hotel room independently. So I’m still counting this as a win. Actually a BIG win. I mean, when was the last time I traveled to a new city by myself? Especially for a conference? Ha never, I’d never done that before. I really pushed myself outside my comfort zone and I’m so glad I did.
I have been asked to speak at conferences before, but I had never had anyone pay to fly me to one, pay for my hotel room or my food. So these were all big firsts for me and it was pretty cool. Honestly it was a bit surreal. Like why me? Why do they want me to be on their Family Advisory Network team, and why do they want me to be a part of an Advisory committee for Emergency Medical Services for Children!? And all the acronyms to try to keep up with can feel like too much, so I tried to avoid them here for your sake 😉
But then when I got there and started talking to the other participants, it started to make sense. I know autism, I know how to advocate, my family has experienced medical emergencies, I’ve had to advocate for medical attention for more then one child, I’ve personally sutured my son’s face and I’ve resuscitated my daughter more times then I can count. So basically I have the parenting life experience they are looking for.
It was pretty cool to be asked by professionals my opinions on things that I’m so passionate about. It was surreal that big wigs not only cared what I had to say but when someone disagreed with what I said, there was an overwhelming amount of others who not only backed me up, but went on to champion what I was sharing.
So I was asked to go to a conference where originally I thought I was just going to sit in a crowd of medical professionals and try to stay awake while they all talked about stuff I didn’t really know much about… But instead I was handed a microphone multiple times, I was asked for input, opinions and ideas for change. And in my book I gotta say, that that is pretty remarkable.
And there you have it, I went adventuring outside of my daily routines. I stepped outside the universal pull of my three little children planet’s constant rotational balance of everything I do. And it was nice.
I met some really cool, driven people, I made some amazing friends and the first night I literally spent most of just relaxing in my hotel bathtub in silence with peanut m&ms, that no one tried to sneak off with. It was nice to do a grownup thing.