Monday, November 16, 2009
Livin it up in Livonia
This past weekend Leigh and I had a chance to head to the East side of the state for our first Spina Bifida Conference. Seems like a funny thing to be excited about, but I was kind of excited to hear what was to be said there and admittedly Leigh and I considered it a "vacation" as we left Grey home with Grandma Neal. (thanks Chris :) ) We rode down with Nate and Emily (Carson's mom and dad, If you missed last post, Carson is Grey's buddy and Olympic swim partner) on friday, and were able to enjoy a really nice evening with them.
So saturday morning comes and we had this brilliant idea that we would finally be able to SLEEP IN!!! We'll sure enough 6 thirty hits and guess who's up-and-at-em? Yep, So much for sleeping in. Oh well, it was still really nice to just lounge a bit. So anyway we head down to the conference, and at this point we really weren't sure what it was gonna be all about, we had never attended anything like this before, but heard from other parents that this was a good one to check out. The first thing that struck me was the amount of kids using canes, walkers, wheel chairs, it was great to see! Great to see because it is sooo rare in our day-to-day lives to see a child that needs a little extra help getting around. Leigh and I are always like, "where are they?" And when we do see one it's like "you think he/she has spina bifida?" So anyway, to see a large number of children like this was pretty cool. And with the large number of kids that were there was an even larger collective smile from them all! Everyone was very kind and had a general warmth about them.
As far as the actual conference was concerned I was VERY impressed with the speakers, (mainly Doctors from Detroit Children's Hospital) and learned a lot of interesting things. Some of the age appropriate stuff didn't directly relate to Grey, therefore my attention drifted as it does in any sort of "lecture type-situation" But overall, I was pretty attentive and even jotted a few notes down for future use.
I mentioned before how key it was for me to see kids with spina bifida getting around, laughing, interacting, playing with others. It also was encouraging to see and speak with adults living with spina bifida to cast some sort of light on what Grey's future might look like as an adult. For example, The four of us had lunch with a women named Katie, probably around my age, who was born with SB. She spoke with us about how her folks never went easy on her, but expected just the same from her as her brothers and sisters. She said she had a normal childhood, was on the swimming team for 4 years in high school, told us how she met her husband 5 year ago and introduced us to her daughter who was 3. Other adults included teachers, mentors, businessmen, etc. you know, like jobs that everyone else has. It's been a weakness of mine thinking about Grey's future and doubting/limiting what he might be able to do because of SB, but this weekend sure helped to rattle some of those thoughts outta my head and trust that Grey will do what he's meant to do. and that will be good enough. always.
love Andy, Leigh, Grey