Real heroes don’t wear capes. Often they are regular people who have the courage to speak the truth.
The Center for Family Involvement’s Co-Director and Director of the Family to Family Network Virginia Nickie Brandenburger shares:
“When I reflect on the early years of my son’s life, it is often a blur of phone calls, doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions and research. I spent countless hours organizing his medical care, communicating with his early intervention support coordinator and worrying about his future. I was also a professional in the field, working closely with families who had children with disabilities. I helped families organize medical appointments, therapy sessions, and conducted research on best practice and options.
One day, I was talking with the mother of a young boy with whom I had worked for many years. We’d grown close and she was always appreciative of the support I provided their family. She was aware my son was receiving EI services and asked how he was doing. She listened intently while I updated her on his progress. She told me that she had always appreciated the support I had provided to her family as her son’s support coordinator.
Then she paused, furrowed her brow and said, ‘Nickie, you need to remember to stay in your lane.’
Confused, I asked for clarification. She reminded me that I was not my son’s support coordinator. I was his mother. She gently expressed her concern that I was acting like his support coordinator instead of his mother. I suddenly realized how accurate she was. I WAS managing his care and researching options. My son had a support coordinator who could help me with all of those tasks. I needed to take a step back and be his mother FIRST. I needed to enjoy those early years and celebrate the successes one day at a time.
Flash forward 15 years later and to this day her words ‘stay in your lane’ resonate. Whenever I feel overwhelmed about my son’s future, I remember the compassion and wisdom of her simple reminder to slow down and celebrate the successes and enjoy being a mom FIRST.”