by Jessica Rogers
Having a support system is important for anyone, including for kids who have SA/CRS. My family and my friends are a terrific support system for me, and meeting new friends expands that support system even further. My family is just about the greatest thing that I have in my life. They are always there to support me, cheer for me, comfort me, and help me in any way they possibly can. I will always value my family. My friends are great as well! I have tons of friends; from school, from sports, and just from general everyday life. My friends support me, but what I most value them for is that they know me as a peer, as just one of the gang. I love being able to have fun, mess around, and just be myself. New friends present new opportunities too, opportunities for us to learn from each other.
My family is central to the way I’ve been raised, and am still being raised, and I will grow into a successful adult because of them. My mother, most of all, who adopted me as an infant, is the one who encourages me to go for my dreams and gives me that extra boost when I need it. She is pretty amazing, I must say. She manages to take care of a large family as a single adoptive parent, with more girls running around than most people bother to remember. I am sure I test her sanity at times. I’ve always joined in on the goofy games or the “dangerous” leaps off the kitchen counter, but I’m definitely no worse for wear. I love sports, especially swimming, and being active in general-although I do watch perhaps a bit more TV than I really should. My mom has been with me through all of my sports activities and the perilous leaps and the spontaneous, although sometimes foolish, decisions I might make to try something I haven’t done before-like putting roller skates on my hands and skating down the steep driveway. I know these things can make her, along with many others, cringe. I do know that I need to keep myself safe, and I know how to do so. I wouldn’t do something if I knew that the ending would not go well for me. I believe my mom knows this too, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t holding her breath sometimes when she sees my antics.
My friends are pretty amazing people too, because they are mature enough to look beyond superficial appearances. In elementary school, I was one of the kids who would be swinging on the monkey bars, running across a field playing tag, and “playing” soccer, just enjoying life. I used to come in from recess covered in dust, but smiling nonetheless. I run (and walk) using my arms and hands instead of legs. Not to worry, at recess I was not playing tag by myself, or playing soccer alone. I always had a wonderful group of friends around me. They would joke around, push, shove, and occasionally throw dirt at me, but I’d joke right back and toss some mulch around. They all treated me just like anybody else, and I absolutely loved it! I knew that although they would be rough sometimes, they were always keeping an eye out for me and knew my limits. They pushed me to do what I hadn’t done yet, and called me chicken if I didn’t. I took all the jokes in stride, because I knew these were my true friends.
It’s always great to have a good group of friends no matter where you are or how old you are. Friends always change, but it’s great! I love meeting new people that come into my life and knowing that they really care and accept me for who I am. Doing sports has been a major factor in meeting new people. I’m on multiple teams, so I work hard with people who have the same mindset and enjoy what they do like I do. I meet people from around the country, through swimming, basketball, and even wheelchair track. I love what I do and I enjoy meeting people who feel the same. Having new friends to talk to and hang out with is great. I also like making friends on a sport team because, while they might not know what I can or can’t do in the beginning, they will push me to do what I strive toward. They will learn not to focus on my limits, and I learn to do even more than I thought I could because of their encouragement.
All in all, I am glad for all the people around me. They are there when I need them. To me, my family and my friends are the best, and I always look forward to each day and each person I meet. I look forward to meeting people and showing them that, though I may have SA/CRS, I am no different from any other 14 year old. I may look a little different, but I’ll take it! This is who I am-a lot more than just a physical condition of SA/CRS. I’m a person who enjoys life to the fullest, a person who is always ready for a challenge, and a person who treasures family and friends, both old and new.