When a new family moves into our neighborhood, it's our habit to welcome them. We've become the unofficial "welcome wagon" of our little area! It's generally great fun and the beginning of good relationships. Since we all share a common neighborhood, we try to offer them a friendly, Kentucky welcome. For the last couple of days, Pete and Erin have been trying to welcome a new family who moved in a couple of houses down from us. They made them a little treat, added a card with our names, and just wanted to say hello. Each time they try to deliver it, no one answers the door. We know they are there, but we can't make contact. At this point, we have to step back and respect their wish for privacy. Welcoming seemed like the right thing to do, but we don't always know what the right thing to do is when we're standing on the outside, do we?

This made me think of how it feels when we approach a family who has been newly diagnosed with PWS. Most of the time, we are welcomed with open arms. Our offer of support and friendship is seen as a lifeline. Other times, we make our approach with the best of intentions, but the family doesn't react like we had hoped. Just as Pete and Erin were holding out a package to our new neighbors, we older families hold a package of PWS experiences and memories out to newly diagnosed families. Sometimes, newly diagnosed families are so afraid of what is in our package, that it's easier just to keep the door closed.

Today, Pete and Erin will walk over to the neighbor's house and leave the bag hanging on the door knob. It has a welcome, our names, and house number there so whenever they need us, we'll be around. Whenever we can, we will wave and say hello as we walk past if they are in the yard, and we will let them know that we are the ones who left the bag. If they respond positively, we can offer our friendship. If not, we'll walk on and wait until they are ready. Either way, they will know we are nearby and friendly, ready to help when they need it.

Each of us deals with the PWS diagnosis in our own way. Each of us has a different set of family dynamics to deal with making our timeline for adjusting to PWS different. As we reach out to help, we know that not all of our efforts will be received as we expect. In time, that will most likely change and when that happens, we will be around, prepared to help in whatever way is needed.

By the way, the next time somebody moves into our neighborhood, we'll still have the welcome basket ready! 🙂

Rachel

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