Happy 4th of July from Toledo, OH! It's been a wonderful vacation so far. The best part, of course, has been getting to meet my friend Michelle and her family in person. Michelle was the first friend I made through this blog, and her support, advice and friendship over the years has meant more to me than I can say.
Lindsey is Michelle's 16 year old daughter, a girl who is much like Janey. What a remarkable and cool person she is! She is non-verbal, but that certainly doesn't mean she can't communicate! I think she said more to me in the first 10 minutes I was with her than many people do in a year. Her facial expressions and postures and attitude are astonishingly able to say what she wants to say. One of the coolest things was watching her watch Janey have a meltdown. She said with her face "I love this! Janey is giving them hell! And it's not me---I'm just getting to sit back and watch! Go, Janey!"
It's been terrific meeting Michelle's husband, too. Fathers of our girls are the unsung heroes, and Dan is one of them. Like Tony, he is fully there for his family, and Janey has taken to him instantly. And Leah and Jacob, Lindsey's siblings, are amazing kids in their own right.
And Michelle! I think we could talk forever and never run out of things to say. She has lived my life and I hers. The cool thing for me is she's a little ahead of me in the journey, as Lindsey is older. When she told me that it would get easier with Janey, I knew she really knew. She gets the meltdowns and the isolation and the frustrations but more than anything, the love we have for our girls---the overwhelming love.
How has Janey been doing? Pretty well, overall. There have been meltdowns and arm biting here and there, and when she's gotten restless there have been a lot of walks and car rides, but she has spent a lot of time at Michelle's house, enjoying their hospitality, and we had a great swim this morning, lots of iPad hotel time, and a lot of doing things we do at home, in different surroundings. It's making Tony and me feel hopeful that when he retires and we can travel even more, Janey will be up for it.
Today we are going to the Toledo Zoo. One of our dreams for Tony's retirement is traveling around to some of the top zoos in the country, and Toledo's is one of them, so we are very excited!
Toledo is great! The weather has been so lovely, dry and warm but not hot. The big Ohio skies and farms and friendliness make me proud to be an Ohio native, although Maine of course will always be the home of my heart!
I'll write more about the trip soon---I don't like writing on a laptop, so I'll keep this fairly short. I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th!