July 16, 2010
First stop - Denver
I have shared deep feelings, personal emotions and my love of my family. I have revealed the challenges and triumphs of raising a child with down syndrome. I have tried to be honest and true. It has been an 11 month journey of awareness, awakenings and much learning. It is almost over.
We left our house late this afternoon with a fully loaded car. The GPS says we are 45 minutes from our evening’s accommodations. We have our inflatable raft, bikes, golf clubs and tennis rackets. We have our hiking clothes, backpacks, water bottles and power bars. We are going on vacation!
I cannot remember the last time we went on a family vacation where we actually had some free time. Despite the planning of the National Committee and the welcome Lincoln has extended to all the guests, we know we want to explore. Yes, a real vacation, rest, relaxation and exercise!
The Opening Ceremonies are on Sunday. Alex will compete twice on Monday and twice on Tuesday. These are the qualifying rounds; if she does well she will then compete in the finals on Wednesday and Thursday. We are not allowed to visit Alex and will only see her at the track; this gives us a lot of our own time. For the first time, we will spend an entire week without Alex; bittersweet but a life event we have been anxiously awaiting.
We will have lots of visitors; my mother and her husband, all three of my sisters; two solo and one with her family. Our friends include Molly and Jeff from Colorado and Christine from Chicago. We have four hotel rooms reserved and stopped at Costco to get snacks for everyone. We are prepared.
Alex is excited and has been peppering us the entire ride with questions. She is a bit confused we are spending the night in Denver and not meeting her team until tomorrow morning at 7:00. Since we are one of five families travelling from remote areas of Colorado, we were given a room at a hotel near the Special Olympics office in Denver. I must not have explained the arrangements properly, as I realize Alex thought she was meeting the team this evening to head to Lincoln.
There is a big send off in the morning and then Team Colorado will leave in a big custom,air conditioned bus. It has been very hot here, and promises to be even hotter in Lincoln. Alex packed as instructed and will receive her team apparel when we check her in tomorrow. I hope she can sleep tonight!
I started this journal with the idea to document my daughter’s life from the beginning of her sophomore year to the end of the Special Olympics games in Lincoln, NE. That auspicious day is July 23 or 7 days from now. I have mixed emotions about ending our story.
I have enjoyed this year of writing more than I possibly thought I would. I was concerned I would at some point consider this a chore; it was never so. As I end this journey I find there are so many thoughts I still have not shared; so many adventures not documented, and a life still to be lived. Perhaps I should start a new blog…..I need to think about that!