Friday, August 7, 2015

home sweet home

There is something about going home, to your people, your space, to whatever makes you feel rooted and whole. For Monrovia, we've found that one home for her is her old deaf school, where we took her from 7 months until she was almost 4. It is a trek for us, usually about an hour each way to get there, but it also is a place that changed our lives forever, and gave us an ongoing community of support and friendship that we still carry with us.

This summer we were able to go for one week of Alumni Camp, so every morning we piled into the car at 7 am to make the drive. As you can see, out of my two kids I have one morning person and one not-so-morning-person...
My favorite part of Alumni Camp is that feeling of going back to a place where you are known, and where other people share some of your experience. For Monrovia, she gets to be in a place where almost all of the kids have hearing loss- just like her. Since at her regular school she is the only kid with hearing loss (and she notices this), it is a special time.

Going into Camp with her friend Samantha...(Let me tell you how many times I have walked up and down the below stairs)
Morning Music started at 8:30, and even though Monrovia is now 7, she still loved it. And what can I say? I love it too. Monrovia used to sit in this same circle when she was barely walking. I love that she is now one of the old kids that the little ones can look up to, at the same time that she is singing and participating.

Monrovia's friend Kalia, who also lives in Oakland, was there for camp too. They were in class together when Monrovia was just 15 months old! Not so little anymore...
Monrovia's sweet class of kiddos, and their amazing teacher Lisa - who happens to be my dear friend and a mama to Monrovia's "sister" Lily. Her class theme was The Enchanted Forest, so they named themselves Peter Pan (in honor of the token boy in their class) and the Fairies. Love all of these sweet kiddos.
Monrovia and her friend Lily decided to be twins the first day, so they wore matching outfits, including headbands made to hold their cochlear implants. Melt my heart these two!
Meanwhile, while the big kids are at Camp all morning, the mamas had the younger siblings for a few hours. That usually (and historically) means hanging out at school, going to a park, going to Target and Whole Foods....After a long time apart, they old crew is back together!
Daily errands to the store...

Ruby with her first ever friend Ella. They've known each other since they were born, these two!
The big kids Enchanted Forest....

The kids made fairy houses
And made and wrote about their fairies...
Monrovia's friend Vivian led a cheer at Morning Music. People, these little kids yelling their little hearts out? All have hearing loss. I love it. It seriously never gets old.

Every day we would hang out after camp and eat lunch together. The mamas would talk and the kids would all play for as long as we would let them, running and chasing and imagining and shouting and throwing and being crazy.

Then back on the road, home to Oakland!
Here is the daughter, who is naturally a social, outgoing, friendly kid with lots fo friends, is most herself when she is back with her hearing loss friends. I can't quite explain it, but even though they are so young they are so at ease with each other. And for me, I get time with friends whose kids are on a similar journey. Even though people forget all the time that Monrovia is deaf, we never do. It is a part of our routine and family, and one that we wouldn't change. But when I see my mama friends, or to a degree Monrovia's former teachers and speech therapists, it is home for me too. We can cut out a lot of the explaining and just get right to the stuff that our kids are going through, the high and lows and the logistics of hearing loss that no one else really cares or knows about. So for a week, we got to go home to our people. To our history. To our roots. To safety for Monrovia and comfort for me. Grateful for a week of home.

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