I think today at the John Tracy Clinic was the shortest Friday of all, because it just flew by. It was wise for me not to wear any makeup, because the tears flowed freely. We enjoyed our last circle time with our kids, had a few closing remarks from the wonderful people who organized our adventure, then had a support group meeting with the entire group, where we were given the opportunity to say our closing remarks. We then went to a lovely closing ceremony where we all got certificates and some closing remarks. We picked up our kids, headed to the big tree, and had one last photo taken. Then we said our farewells.
We all expressed open door policies to everyone in the group, so there might be some future reunions in various parts of the world. But if not, we will all stay in touch through facebook or e-mail or some other media. One thing's for sure though, we will never forget the friendships we've forged over the last 3 weeks. Living together in the same apartment building and spending valuable time on the lawn in the evenings brought our lives together for these 3 weeks with one common theme - to help our d/hh kiddos reach their fullest potential, and make sure that we are the most informed part of that equation. We especially cherished those evenings on the lawn when our kids could just be kids without any explanations or funny looks and we could talk about anything we wanted, including hearing loss.
We've said our goodbyes, expressed our immense gratitude and now we are packing and cleaning up while Lucas takes a nap. We are off to a hotel for the weekend, and we fly back on Sunday. It feels strange to leave our home-away-from-home and go to a hotel. We feel happy and empowered to take on the world and spread what we've learned. As the tip of the day said today:
Lucas was born with profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss to two hearing parents. He wore hearing aids starting at 3 months, but he got no benefit from them, as we soon found out. He received a cochlear implant in his right ear 3 days after his first birthday. His second ear was implanted 1 month before his third birthday. Cochlear implants have changed Lucas's life immensely. This site was developed to chronicle his life and progress learning to listen and speak!