and you didn't even know I was gone. :) Just a quick update for now. I'll post more in the next day or two.
I just got back from Atlanta, GA. Tom and I went down for the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference and what a wonderful time we had!
Jan, a good on-line friend of mine that I've known since Ryan was born (her son, Nash, is 10 days older than Ryan) BEGGED me to come to the conference. (ok ok... she suggested it a few times and bent my rubber arm). And since it worked out with my chemo schedule, and we got a cheap flight, and we really needed to get away .... we went! What a wonderful time Tom and I had. It was so amazing to meet Jan and Nicole again. I've known both of them on-line since Ryan was born and have had the pleasure of meeting them before. Nicole was actually one of the very first people who responded to my post on the Down syndrome board on the internet. She is one of the warmest and most compassionate people I've ever met. Jan and I have shared 5 years of watching our sons grow up - we've shared therapy tips, commiserated over behaviour issues, discussed schooling issues - pretty much everything! I also got a chance to meet other on-line friends that I've never met before: Kris, Carol, Lisa and Karen. They are also incredible women who I've been blessed to know through my 5 year journey with Ryan. Carol was actually a keynote speaker at the conference - and I'll write about what she discussed at a later date. It is so amazing to meet someone that you've spoken on the phone with, emailed with, and shared the joys and challenges of raising a child with Down syndrome with. It's hard to describe to people sometimes - they can't believe that I'd fly so far to meet someone I've met on-line and know only that way. But it's really like meeting an old friend that you haven't seen in a while. I'll hopefully be able to share some pictures of my friends in the next couple of days. My camera died so I didn't get any good pictures.
One of the highlights of the conference was attending a session with Carrie and Sujeet - the couple I just posted about who got married. They shared stories about their lives, their courtship and their wedding. Their mothers spoke about how happy they are that their children found someone to share their lives with. They also spoke about the supports they've put in place to help Carrie and Sujeet live as independently as possible. What an inspiration!
And from a more personal point of view, it was wonderful to take a break. Just getting away was like a much needed vacation. I find that I need those mini-breaks - they do wonders at revitalizing me. And I really needed that at this time!
Tom and I at the banquet: