We all need them, but I am especially finding it true since having Jack. Our safe people. Our safe zones. The space where we can just be, with no expectations.
For me, that means space where I don't have to answer a million questions about Jack. People are naturally curious, but oftentimes the questions about Jack come across as wanting to discuss all his "issues". That can quickly translate into all the things wrong with him. Since we obviously don't view Jack through that lens, getting questions like "how many words does he have?" and "does he struggle in new places?" when he is obviously struggling in a new place is... not fun.
Safe spaces are where you come as you are, with people who get it, with no requirement to politely answer all the questions. There is a whole lot of pressure to check off all the boxes, all of the time. The advocating, the educating, and the constant setting of an example. People quickly label parents of special needs kids as inspiring or somehow heroic and while I understand the sentiment, sometimes I don't want to inspire anyone. I just want to be in my safe space.
I was reading something the other day about not giving up on trying new things. The author encouraged her readers with the statement - "don't live small." The tendency (and I TOTALLY GET IT) is to stay at home. Home is the ultimate safe zone for special needs kids. It is the place where no one questions or stares. Where parents can laugh at the ridiculous antics and understand each and every nuance of their child. I get it, friends, I do. Some days I never want to leave. And I certainly see how that does not help anyone.
It is such a delicate balance, but I am of the mind that for every new, uncomfortable, and out of the comfort zone experience we attempt as a family, I need at least a dozen hours in my safe space. With my people. With the ones who understand that Jack is just... Jack.