We got to the campus (they have a preschool for blind children attached to the facility) and were greeted by Capri's therapist. Immediately, I felt at ease seeing a familiar face. When I walked into the gym and saw all those sweet perfect children and their parents I wasn't scared anymore. Ok, I was still nervous, but the longer we sat with them I just wanted to squeeze all of those parents and those angel kids.
We immediately split into groups to focus on different developmental skills. Sensory, language, and vision. Capri wanted to put everything in her mouth haha! They did an activity with mashed potatoes on a sheet and she just ate all of them! Dayton has so much time off now he's been to alot of doctors appointments and got to come that day! Uh I didn't know what I was missing all this time! He asks the right questions, he asks a lot of them, and is just so social with everyone! In situations like being at the foundation I tend to keep to myself. I try and take it all in and just focus on Capri and I think he can sense the tension. So he'll ask the mom next to us how old her little boy is (who was having a hard time) and just try and lighten the mood.
We went to a few stations, met some other parents, and some of the staff. It was sweet to have something so personal in common with someone who doesn't speak the same language as us or live in the same area. We could relate on a much deeper level aside from both being parents.
They had a few volunteers helping out with crafts and activities for the siblings while the kids did their rotations. Wins was in heaven! I don't even think she would have cared if we left. We tried to explain before we got there that there were going to be special little kids like Capri at the place we were going, but she obviously didn't even notice. I don't think we'll mention things like that to her again. I want her to become accustomed to having friends that are different that she just doesn't even think twice if she see's someone like the friends she met today.
After the rotations they assigned a volunteer to Capri to watch her while the parents gathered in a conference room. The topic for the parent support group was grief. It was a heavy topic for our first time being there. We have been in our own little world for the past couple months. We talk about blindness sometimes. It is still hard for me to categorize Capri as blind. I usually just say visually impared if it gets brought up at church or in public. We talk about it occasionally when her therapist comes, but mostly we're trying to live as normal lives as possible. When we sat down everyone went around the room and people started introducing their families. They would give a little summary of the vision problems their child had and what they hoped to get out of coming to the foundation programs. It seemed like most people were fairly new in coming so there was a lot of fresh emotion. It was heartbreaking to hear some of the things these parents and children have gone through and what they will continue to struggle with. You know there are kids like this around you, but to look their parents in the eye from across the table and listen to them tell their story it just gives you a small insight as to what they deal with every day. I can't explain it. I wasn't a complete mess. Luckily, I didn't go full ugly cry but I did manage to cry just enough to give myself a headache haha. I had Dayton do our introductions because I knew I couldn't talk about Capri without going to that bad blubbering spot. I'll open up the more we come, but I just couldn't so soon. It has been a while since I've cried for about Capri so this will definitely help me deal with it.
Everything any parent talked about, I had experienced. There was a lot of nodding going on from the entire room. I felt really understood and grateful for the road we're on. One man who spoke spanish had a translator relay his introduction to the rest of the group. He finished his intro by saying, "I believe and love God and I am so grateful for my beautiful son and that we are his parents." Maybe that's when I just realized I couldn't say anything more profound and true than what he just did. It was such a sweet moment.
When the meeting was over, Mary, the program coordinator, gave me a hug and told her to call her anytime. She could tell I was really struggling. You know when someone hugs you and it's a real hug? Or when they ask you how you're doing. Not like, "Hi, how are you?" like it's a habit, but they really want to know how your heart is doing. Usually mom's know just how to say things like that just right to make me want to burst into tears. Thats exactly how she said it. She even handed me her card again as we were leaving the building. Was it that obvious I was not OK? haha
My angel girl!
This was written a while ago and we've been another time since I wrote this. I get gun shy about posting these really personal posts but oh well!