Today, on this 9th day of the 9th month at the 9th hour, International FASD Awareness Day, we are encouraged to stop, reflect on and share the message of no alcohol for nine months during pregnancy (049) to bring attention to the risks of prenatal exposure to alcohol.
I wondered how I would end the 99 days to 9/9 FASDay journey I started on June 1 (Day 1: 99 Days to FASDay), and complete my 9 day journey in the Red Shoes Rock to Stop FASD challenge I accepted on September 1 (Day 1 of 9: Challenge Accepted: Red Shoes Rock Out FASD). And as the last nine days have shown me, something happened which inspires my reflection.
First thing this morning I came across a very moving video message on Twitter. It caused me to stop in my red shoe tracks and pause and reflect. It challenged me to take a moment and first congratulate myself and others for all we do for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder but it challenged me to re-frame for a moment, focus on the positive and think, what am I grateful for?
So today, on FASDay, I am grateful for:
- First, foremost and always, I am grateful for the maiden. She has changed my life in so many ways. She has taught me to love first. To be patient. To accept differences. To be creative. To be a better person than I was before we became mother and daughter.
- I am grateful for the researchers, scientists, and medical professionals that not only identified FASD but continue to examine it, provide scientific evidence and move us forward in our understanding. I am grateful to the people and organizations that provided permission to share their words, stories and research during these last 99 days.
- I am grateful for the families and care givers and other bloggers that give voice to FASD, who share their personal stories and struggles. I appreciate your strength and bravery. I don’t feel so alone.
- I am grateful for those teachers and professionals who have helped, supported, taught, guided, and cheered on the maiden, the mother and the crone. You were there for us when we felt lost, alone and had nowhere to turn.
- I am grateful for the advocates who speak out, who challenge me to be a better advocate and teach me (and others) how to advocate. I am grateful to Jodee Kulp and RJ Formanek and the Red Shoes Rock movement who have provided great information, support and allowed me to join an awesome movement.
- I am grateful to the people who follow me on social media, who read, share my posts and comment on my posts with words of encouragement and praise. I started this journey to give a voice I didn’t hear raising the maiden. There are many voices out there now and that is a great thing. But I appreciate those who feel I have something important to add to the conversation.
- I am grateful for the youth and adults with FASD who are speaking out. Who are sharing their stories. Who are teaching me (and others) what life is like with FASD and challenging us all to change the conversation. I am grateful to the birth moms who are sharing their stories. The courage to speak your truth is inspiring.
- I am grateful to the media that find or seek out our stories and share them. Without coverage we are small voices in a large void. Together we are heard.
- Lastly, I am grateful to the pioneers who started this day 18 years ago. Bonnie Buxton, Brian Philcox and Teresa Kellerman who decided that even though everyday is FASDay, we needed one day to focus attention around the world. Without them we would not have this day.
So what was the tweet that inspired me?
Check out the FASD Learning With Hope blog post for FASD Awareness Day. It is filled with many wise words. Thank you to this blog for some very wise words today. You are awesome!
In the words of Myles (S-Myles) Himmelreich:
Happy FASD Day. September 9 International FASD Day. 9th day of the 9th month. A date to acknowledge and celebrate those supporting and successfully living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Now it’s time to lace up my red shoes and complete my 9 day Red Shoes Rock to Stop FASD participation. The maiden and the crone are on their way over. Appropriate we spend some time together today.
Thank you to everyone who has organized, volunteered, participated in an event, shared a message or spent a moment in solitary reflection today. You are awesome!