Not sure how much Sahil wanted to be cuddled, but damn it, he was getting cuddled!
One-on-one with my big guy, Will
So, as it turns out, everyone was exactly the way I had always imagined them to be, and the "virtual" friendships melded seamlessly into the real world. While I definitely got to know everyone on a more personal level, there were no shocks or turn-offs that presented themselves. Hope everyone else was saying the same for me...
1 am party animals (clearly Anabelle is BEGGING me to go back to the room!)
There was something so easy and relaxing about being with all these folks. We didn't even try an outing away from the hotel, because we all know the hassle of getting out with a special needs kid. No one freaked out if they heard gagging or screaming, or saw a kid getting a tube feed or being vented. Total everyday stuff for everyone there. No one needed to apologize to people around them for anything, or explain what was going on. We all share the same life.
Something else happened this weekend as well, that I hadn't anticipated in my focus on packing and what to expect during the drive and when I arrived, and that is that I fell in love with my daughter all over again. On day three, I suddenly realized that I had NEVER done ANYTHING alone with Anabelle that did not include a hospital or a doctor's office. This is the first time she and I were sharing an adventure in which she was not being poked or prodded or cut open or tested. We were just HANGING OUT. And she was in heaven. She loved every second of the trip: staring out the car window as the sun splashed on her face, co-sleeping with Mommy, constant cuddles from all the other mommies and grandmas, listening to the noise of all the kids around her. This was her kind of vacation. And I got to see her through the eyes of our friends, as well. As the youngest cephaly kid there, she was the overindulged princess. These folks are used to looking at disabilities everyday, and they don't even see that when they look at her. They see her smile, her chubby cheeks, her chunky legs, her hand raising in her own style of greeting, the way she turns into your kisses. They aren't distracted by what she CAN'T do, and they reminded me to not allow myself to focus on that either.
Cuddles from Miss Dawn
Anabelle and Grandma Lucy were two peas in a pod
Jacob Sting's cousin Addison and Anabelle were best buddies
Holding hands with Sahil
Mmmm, Alyssa's birthday ice cream!
Hanging out in bed with Mommy
Cracking up listening to Savannah sing
I certainly hope this was NOT a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I was able to conquer my fear of travelling with Anabelle, everyone survived, and even thrived, and am hoping this is an adventure we will get to repeat again soon...