Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Girl Like You

I had the opportunity to finally connect with a family that lives a few hours away.  Josephine and Gabe are the parents of three lovely children; their eldest, Avery, has cerebral palsy and is a year younger than Elena.  Josephine contacted me through this blog (contact info on the side panel) and we've been emailing off and on.  She was one of the first to join the Holiday Card Exchange last year, and we have their family picture on E's buddy board in her room.  

Avery recently started seeing our Feldenkrais practitioner, Keith.  They had an appointment earlier this week and she suggested a playdate for the kids.  ABSOLUTELY!!

It was a gorgeous day, so I suggested we meet at playground close by.  This playground has a water splash park and climbing structures and swings--I've mentioned it here and here.  
Elena had met Avery before, briefly, at Keith's.  She was very excited to see her again!


E and Avery
It was everything I ever wanted.  A chance for Elena to play with a girl who understands her life.  They immediately started talking, chatting their way to the park.  They looked at each other's equipment, and talked about their walkers/crutches/wheelchairs, with no "weirdness", or judgement...I dare say they were excited to talk about those things with each other.  And other things, of course.  


Walkers in the park
Viv is cold and excited
The similarities don't end there--Avery is the eldest sibling in her family also, and her eldest brother is Vivian's age.  I felt they subconsciously also had a common bond; a sister that moves differently than they do, and all the peripherals that come with that. 




Viv and Brogan
And to top it off, E and Avery weren't the only two kids with CP at that park.  Another girl (quite young) that we had met at Kluge was also there, crawling around the sprayground enjoying herself.  It warmed my heart.

When the sprayground got chilly, the kids moved into the sunny part of the park.  


Swings


E had thrown her crutches by a bench, up the hill (even though I told her to "park" them nicely).  We were summoned by one of E's classmates, L, who recognized E's crutches and was running all over the park looking for her.  There was lots of squealing--pretty adorable, actually.  After it got too hot in the sun, time to cool off...

Beach Walker 2.0, back in action

Vivian on the water attack


E retreats as L readies her water cup


After another visit to the sprayground, the kids started getting hungry.  We all opted to go to our favorite pizza place.


Tired and hungry


Avery used her manual wheelchair, and we all sat outside.  The adults actually got to sit by ourselves for a little while (!), where we freely chatted about diagnoses, surgeries, therapy, and all sorts of other things--including Josephine's initial reluctance to Avery's chair (kind of where I am right now), which I found very helpful.  And on the subject of wheelchairs:  while we were eating, two women came to the restaurant--one in a power chair, and another in a manual one.  Avery and Elena immediately started chatting them up--it was one of those moments in time that I want to keep forever.  To me, it felt like the veil of disability vanished.  No wondering stares, no pity, no insecurities, no reservations.  Pretty amazing.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its so cool that your found parents that are taking the same path you are.It will be intersting to see if they make the same mobility choice once they leave home

Amy said...

WOW! So many people with CP in equipment in one day. Amazing! I dream of a day like that. There are NO kids like Emma around and it seems like she does not really fit in anywhere.

I am thrilled to hear that Elena and Avery were able to connect so very personally and then get the chance to meet two adults (with chairs) with whom they could chat it up. WOW! I just have to type that again. It was like the perfect day or something.

Hopefully, Elena and Avery can hook up more often especially since they have so many similarities.

This post made me very happy! Thanks so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

IT WAS NICE TO READ THAT.. I RECENTLY SAID SOMEO E THAT I FELT I NEEDE SOMETHING ELSE AND I BET THAT'S IT SOMEONE TO CONNECT WITH.. I THINK WE ALL NEED THAT.. ITS SO NICE TO TALK TO SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS WHERE YOU ARE COMMING FROM.

MELISSA

Anonymous said...

On accepting the wheelchair thing

You have taken the 1st step and that is having a real wheelchair that E can be independent in.

I had a transit wheelchair(can you say embrassing)for distance

Josephine Andersen said...

This post makes me so happy - I am so glad I wasn't the only one who had big hopes and dreams for this play date! And Avery LOVED Elena! She can't *wait* to play with her again :) It made me so happy to see them connecting with each other :)

bgabe said...

Cute girls! Nothing better than a friend who can understand you in every way possible.

Danielle said...

It completely changed my attitude toward my disability for the better once I had friends who "lived in my world." I'm so glad Elena is getting to experience that. :)

Did Elena ever get the birthday card I sent? I just wanted to make sure it wasn't lost in the mail or something :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. What encouragement..

AZ Chapman said...

what a special day