We loved our time here, especially the little bit of time we got to spend with Jonathan. He seems to be adjusting well, though he is not without his challenges that brought him here. I don’t want to give the impression that all was fun and games. This is going to be difficult work for him, and for us too.
But any time we can spend with him is precious to us. Yesterday, we enjoyed breakfast and lunch with him. He also attended (all students did) the keynote session with us. The speaker was Tom Dickson, creator of the BlendTec blender that is used by all Jamba Juice, Ben & Jerrys, and Baskin Robbins stores.
He has a fun website you should really check out. He blends up some outrageous stuff to show how powerful the blender is. They had him speak because he is dyslexic and has ADHD and his story is really powerful.
This morning was fun, as the Recreation Therapist led us through some pretty cool activities to show us how they tie every activity into something that gives the students the opportunity to learn, express themselves and dig deeper into what’s happening for them each day.
After lunch, we had a little bit of time, so Jonathan was allowed to take us over to the horses. We got to walk among a few of them and pet and feed them carrots. One of them was a little feisty, and lo and behold, Jonathan says that one is his favorite!
The workshops we attended both yesterday and today were very insightful and helpful. This afternoon, we attended a parent support group that was especially relevant and helpful. We really got a chance to see that, even though we know it intellectually, we are not alone in this journey. There are LOTS of parents going through our same story. It was especially good for me to hear some of the dads talk about their grief process, as Jonathan’s absence has been so much harder for me emotionally than I anticipated.
One of the things I am learning is that no matter how right I believe this decision is (and believe me, I KNOW it’s right and good), NONE of that makes the grieving process any easier. It was just very affirming to hear some dads share their story in this.
The conference officially ended with a student panel. Four current students and two former students took questions from the audience. It was a great way to top off the conference. Then, a bit later we had our first family therapy session, which the therapist started very well by having us spend our time talking about our family’s strengths. He shared that his experience is that we’ll spend lots of time talking about the problems, and it’s helpful to start all that by rehearsing and reminding ourselves of our strengths.
After spending a bit more time with Jonathan, we said our “so long’s” for now. It was a little easier for me this time, maybe because we’d had a few rough patches over the couple of days. Nothing huge, but enough to affirm for us that he really needs this structure, therapy and atmosphere at this time in his life.