I have this friend. Some of you know her. She's amazing, and bossy. She has been so excited about this conference. Her youngest is considered Deafblind. This conference was for parents of kids who are Deafblind. At one point during the day on Friday, she was unsure her husband was going to make it, and invited me to go with her. At the last minute he was able to go, but another friend of ours, husband wasn't. So Lisa called me, and said...and I quote, "OK, we're getting started, you better hurry... see you in a minute." I was still unsure about going. It had been a VERY long day for me, and I was tired. AND...my son is not deafblind, so I was worried about not fitting in, so to speak. I could not have been more wrong.
I went, mostly to get Lisa off my back, ( I told you...she's a bossy one) and had such a wonderful time, and learned SO much in the 3 hours I was there.
They showed this movie, "The Teachings of Jon". This is just the trailer, but VERY powerful.
Jack reminds me so much of Jon. The way he communicates, but most importantly, the way he loves, and the way he teaches us. Jack has had a profound affect on us, and so many people around us.
At the conference, they encouraged everyone to think about, and write down, the things they have learned from their child. I've been thinking about it ever since. He has taught us SO much, I'm hope I can put them into sentences.
1) The first thing he ever taught me was to believe in him. He wouldn't be with us today, if I hadn't.
2) That I'm stronger than I think. I NEVER would have thought I could go through an impending doom pregnancy. Or handing him off to an anesthesiologist. Six times. Or anything really. I have HAD to find my strength, but I'll tell you, I sure found it, and I'm still finding it, everytime something new happens.
3) Support groups are my life line. I really don't know what I'd do without them.They are all listed on over on the right. It's so nice to be able to tell them how I feel, and they get it! Or if I have a question, someone ALWAYS has an answer. They are happy to share in my trials, and triumphs. I have made the most wonderful friends from these groups. For them alone; I am thankful for Jack.
4) I've learned a new definition of beauty. I look back at pictures, and sometimes, I'm a little shocked. I notice how big his head was. How wide his cleft was. How flat his nose... is! I honestly never saw any of those things. He was and is perfect.
5) My kids have learned so much. And their friends. I love that Jack will be the boy their friends talk about when they get older. "I had a friend whose little brother who had a cleft lip...or hydrocephalus...or wasn't supposed to live." I love that my kids have gotten to know other kids with disabilities. The two conferences we have been able to go as a family, have truly changed our lives. If only to have the kids meet other kids like them, or Jack. Even better, kids who are more severe than Jack.
6) I've learned so much from other parents. Being in a room full of parents, going through some of the same things, is amazing. Mostly, that we are normal, and not alone!!!
7) True joy!
8) Miracles still happen.
I'm so glad Lisa "made" me go. I met some wonderful people, and I'm so thankful for the challenge to write down what having Jack in our family has taught us. There are of course more, and most of the things I write about here...but these are things that are in my heart tonight!