A Walk in the Park
Abilis has been in our lives since Jo Jo was three weeks old. They were her Birth to Three provider, coming each week for occupational, physical, speech and special education therapy. Geoffrey now gets weekly occupational therapy from them as well.
They are truly amazing. Whenever the therapists are in the house, you always hear about all the things your kid can do, and they never harp on the things they can’t.
I chaired the Abilis walk for two years, when Johanna was 20 months and again when she was 2 ½. I figured it was the least I could do for this exceptional organization. I wasn’t on the walk committee this year—I was too busy dealing with a newborn and two toddlers—although I did coordinate volunteers the day of the walk.
The walk is at Tod’s Point Beach in Greenwich, which in my humble opinion is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places around these parts. We often take our kiddos there over the summer, and in the fall and spring love to ride our bikes around. When I breathe in the salt air and hear the seagulls chirping, I’m reminded of childhood vacations on Cape Cod and I feel so lucky to have such an idyllic spot practically at our fingertips.
Every year, my parents have been at the walk. But this year, it was different. My dad is back in the hospital after running mysterious temperature spikes. No one’s sure exactly what’s going on.
I’ve cried so much over Daddy over the last couple weeks. I know this is just a temporary setback, that he will get over this virus and regain his strength, but it kills me to see him so weakened by disease. In many ways I mourn his vision loss much more than Geoffrey’s. My small son doesn’t know any differently and is already adapting to compensate for his poor eyesight. My dad has gone from having full vision to only seeing shadows. Whether he'll ever get vision back is just a huge unknown.
Somehow, the walk just wasn't the same walk without Pop Pop there. We missed him so much.
We did have a silver cloud on our walk on Sunday. While Nana and Pop Pop weren’t able to be there, Bubby Sylvia, Auntie Alissa, Uncle Martin, and Cousins Maya, Sophie and Alex drove down from Montreal for the occasion. Everyone had a great time.
Teddy insisted on walking the whole route by himself. Jo Jo walked part of the way and then wanted to ride on Jamie’s back. Geoffrey gamely went along in the Bijorn, sucking on his fingers and staring at the world through his swanky blue shades.
I didn’t have time to pull together a fundraising page for Abilis this year, but if anyone wants to donate I can’t think of a more worthwhile cause. You can check them out at https://www.abilis.us/giving.htm
In the meantime, I'm holding onto hope. Next year, I expect Pop Pop to be at the walk with us, holding Teddy and Jo Jo’s hands as all three slowly meander the one mile route.
I said it before and I will say it again. My father blows me away with his fighting spirit and with his optimism. Every time I feel an emotional meltdown coming on--and there have been many such moments over the last couple weeks--I think of my father and how he's handling his latest setbacks and I pull myself together.
A girl couldn't have a finer role model.
Hurry up and get well, Pop Pop. Your three grandchildren miss you.