Today was a great day for Harlie at camp. This camp was two weeks long, and the last day is tomorrow (Friday). The kids and staff have been GREAT with her and I really feel that it has been a wonderful experience for her. Yesterday (Wednesday) she was all hot to trot to get out of the house. And it wasn't even 9am yet. We had to keep on telling her we had to wait.
When I picked Brandy and Harlie up today, Brandy said she had a great day. They had a "field trip" to the library, which is right next door. Brandy got some video (which I still need to upload) of Harlie dancing the hula with some friends. It was so cute to see her having fun with girls!!! Yay! She's socializing and having fun with her peers! Hallelujah!
And another thing that I thought was funny - Harlie picked out her own outfit today (a dress). And the two girls that she was dancing with have the same dress and have worn it to camp. And they've commented that they have the same one. I wonder if Harlie realizes it too, and wanted to wear it because of that. Let's just go with that. Because it would be pretty cool if she was influenced a little by her peers. Maybe, just maybe that will happen with eating.
So, there is this one boy who apparently loves Harlie. He sounds like he's a pretty funny kid. One of the first days at camp, he went and sat next to Brandy and said, "So, what's new with you?" So, today when the staff told him to do something (like, "E, eat your snack.") he said, "Wait! I just want to talk to Harlie's mom!" He clearly thinks Brandy is her mom.
And then he said to Harlie, "I love you, Harlie. Even though you held us up." He was referring to how she was pretty slow walking to the library, even though she didn't technically hold them up. Apparently he was waiting for her.
And then later he said, "I still love you and I'll always love you." Oh, this kid is cracking me up!
Brandy said that there is another little boy that really likes Harlie, too. Today one of them (E) was the line leader and the other boy was the caboose. They both called Harlie to stand next to them in line.
I can tell you two things:
1. I would never have guessed in a million years that she would have a boy telling her he loves her at this age.
2. My heart swells at the thought that these kids have grown to love her over the period of two weeks. I know how awesome she is - but I wasn't expecting for kids her age to realize it. Tears of joy, my friends. Tears of joy.
Tomorrow they are having an ice cream party during the last hour of camp and families are invited. I can't wait to talk to these kids moms to tell them how great their kids are!
Then, in the afternoon, Harlie's new elementary school had an ice cream social for rising kindergartners. It was held in the gym so it was super loud. Which meant that you couldn't hear Harlie's communication device. And she wasn't feeling social, at all. So, that was awkward.
And even though I got to hear how loved Harlie is earlier today - it was STILL so incredibly hard to see how other kids look at Harlie for the first time. It's not that I blame them. They've never seen a trach before - they have no idea what it is. Her eye is probably something they notice pretty quickly. They just need a moment to take her in - and I get that. But it is STILL so hard to watch. And I don't think she notices that yet. How is she going to feel when she sees that reaction, too? I am so afraid of what that will do to her.
Anyway, some moms organized a group of older elementary-aged kids to go around and introduce themselves (how cute is that?!) and it was really hard (emotionally for me, I mean) to have to tell them what she was "saying" since they couldn't hear the device. I had to say, "She just said her name is Harlie." And something about that just made me want to cry.
And then I met Harlie's teacher. And tears started to well up - and I had to choke them down. It was all just so real. So scary. And it breaks my heart that I don't know if she's excited about kindergarten or if she even knows what it is or that she's going there this year. And I thought to myself - how many conversations am I going to have with this teacher (who is apparently super awesome - seriously, I've heard nothing but great things about how great of a teacher she is) and what are those conversations going to be like? Good? Bad? Ugh.
I just can't believe that she's going to go to kindergarten and I can't believe that she's almost FIVE years old. I have been thinking so much about the past five years and all that's happened. All we've been through. And all the people that we're going to meet that have no idea. There's such a comfort with being around people who know - people who get her - and me - without me having to do anything. And I just feel like we are so vulnerable now. It's weird. And scary. And I guess I'm thankful that Harlie doesn't feel any of that yet.
I introduced Brandy to her teacher and we talked briefly about where to sit Harlie. Her teacher told Brandy that they have a spot all ready for her (Brandy, I mean). I can't remember if I told you or not - but this school has "pods" meaning that you walk through one door, into a big room - and off that room are the doors to the kindergarten classes. So, if Harlie is sitting close to the front of the room, Brandy can be in the outer room - still able to hear and see her - but not be right on top of her. And she said that she saw the book about Harlie (another post, sorry!) and it all just made me think about how much work and effort so many people have to put in for Harlie and for us. I'm so thankful for all of you that go out of your way for us - but I can't help but wish that no one had to.
And then, a mom came up to me to introduce herself. She said her son had introduced himself to Harlie earlier and that he went to her and told her there was a girl with a hearing aid, like his sister. So, we started talking about her daughter's hearing issues - when the mom said that her daughter has Goldenhar Syndrome. Whoa! Say what????
Her daughter goes to the same school, but she's going into third grade. Her daughter has the same ear as Harlie's left one and she wears a BAHA (bone anchored hearing aid). But she's not trached and never was. And she eats and talks. I hope they get to meet!
Anyway, after less than an hour, Harlie was ready to go. I think it might have been a little loud for her comfort. And probably a little too socially overwhelming.
Well, that's it for now. More later!
Monument Avenue 10K!
2 weeks ago