an invitation to build community, make a difference, and help a Warrior Mama.
I travel next week to work with a small group of Catholic Speakers/Authors/Podcasters, and I can not wait. I miss being with people. Has virtual been fantastic? Absolutely. Has Zoom created possibility and a wider reach? For sure. But at my core, I am a people person. One on One. Face to Face. A builder of real-life community.
A couple of years ago at an event in Georgia, I was graciously taken out to dinner by the hostesses of the event. Not gonna lie, it is a great perk to an already dream job. Not only do I get a free meal, but I get to spend time with strangers, listen to their stories...and I always leave the better for it.
I met Kim at one of these dinners. Funny, outgoing with a capital "O", oozing joy, positivity, and fearlessness.
And so I was surprised when I received her email the week before Easter. She was asking for my help. For her son, born with cerebral palsy. I had no idea.
Kim's need is great, and she turned to me. Why me? Great question. I mean, what can I do?
And then I remembered who I am and what I do.
I am a mama warrior for my children and I have a heart for mothers who helplessly stand and watch their children suffer.
And I live to build community.
And so I asked Kim to tell us about her son and promised to share her story with everyone I know. Because no one should suffer or struggle alone. We are one big family...a great community...surely, we can help.
Just wait until you "meet' Christian...your heart is about to expand. Or explode. Either is appropriate.
As Simon Sinek would say, my son’s WHY is to engage people in playful conversation so that he can build community. Christian does this over Facetime, in-person, on House Party, over Zoom, and everywhere in between. He loves to build community. And to invite everyone he meets to our house for dinner. It’s his superpower. It makes his physical disability seem less daunting.
Christian was born with cerebral palsy. He also has epilepsy and a pretty intense anxiety disorder. He cannot take care of his daily needs, so we feed, bathe, and dress him. He uses a fleet of wheelchairs to get around. There’s the too-blue small one (65 pounds) I use when I transport him to therapy. The better fitting lime green one (92 pounds) that only his dad can lift into the van. And the 250-pound power wheelchair he drives onto the school bus lift.
A typical conversation with Christian might go like this:
Christian: How long till dinner, mom?
Mom: Three days.
Christian: I know you’re kidding.
Mom: It’s Biblical.
Christian: Dad? She’s at it again!
Mom: He can’t save you from my lethargy.
Christian: Maybe not, but he knows how to grill burgers.
Mom: How do you know?
Christian: I use my grey matter.
At 18-years-old, he weighs 102 pounds and measures 5’2” tall. Which would be fine except we can no longer safely lift and transfer him into our van. Let alone manage his array of wheelchairs. We’ve endured chronic lower back and shoulder injuries, falls, surgeries, (my eldest has metal rods in her leg), and mental health breakdowns along the way of caring for Christian. Thus, our need for a wheelchair-accessible minivan. And a lifetime supply of Valor.
A friend offered to start and run a GoFundMe for us, and a new kind of community was born. We were blessed to receive donations from people we knew but also from many we did not! Our hearts were bursting with gratitude. Then our friend had to pull out and here I am -- the least social media savvy person in the room -- left running the show.
I prayed for help. And Laura came to mind. A super community builder. A faithful Catholic. An inspiration to me and many other women. Laura and I met over a charcuterie board just before she gave a talk to a group of women during a pre-COVID Advent program. What I adored about her immediately was her willingness to be human, which is to say imperfect and totally lovable. And like any gifted and creative leader, she was bursting with ideas to help us spread the word.
So please take a look at our GFM site to learn more about our witty yet stiff and heavy son. If you feel moved to help us build community, we would be very grateful. And of course, we appreciate prayers to help us find a way to continue to safely transport Christian.
*note from Laura: as a thank you from me to you...I will send my FEARLESS WARRIOR VALOR ROLLER to anyone who donates $50 or more to Christian's needs. (Valor...VALIANT WARRIOR...courage in the battle...there IS a theme here, folks) Screenshot your donation and email or DM me on IG @savedandscent or @laura_m_phelps with it, and your mailing address. And thank you!!! Your help and prayers mean so much!