Day 1: The Reunion
Friday, June 7th, 2013
Once again, DeafBlind camp has come and gone. Now it is time to
immortalize my experience on the pages of this blog. Hold onto
your seats. We are about to blast off on a wild adventure.
This was my 7th year attending the camp. It used to be known as
West River Deaf-Blind camp. Now we call it Deaf-Blind Camp of
Maryland, which is the name of the new charity that makes this
For various reasons, this was not a typical camp week for me. I
didn't swim, ride a boat, soar through the air on the giant swing
or go on the hay ride. I spent more time chatting with people and
hanging out with my best friends. Another change was that this
year wasn't just about camp. It was also an adventure with my
very good friend, Amy Marshall. There is nothing I love more than
a road trip with that gal.
Amy used to be an interpreting student at Kent State That's how
we met. Like me, she's a non-traditional student. I have one
child. She has four. We'd have a blast anytime we got together.
Amy opened my eyes to the world and helped me understand that I
can be a part of it. She took me to new places and crazy events.
Amy also helped set up Northeast Ohio DeafBlind Association. She
was our original SSP Coordinator.
My heart was broken in January, 2012 when she told me she was
moving away. We stayed in touch through technology and enjoyed a
short visit last summer. I was thrilled when Amy told me she
would be attending camp as an SSP. That's how the adventure
Amy is a senior interpreting student at a college near her new
home. She's never lost her interest in working with people who
are DeafBlind. For whatever reason, she hasn't forgotten about
me. So, first, there was the reunion on Friday.
Amy arrived at my home, and I can't begin to describe how
wonderful that was. We hugged. She met Bast and toured the house.
We got Joseph and jumped into her car.
You might wonder why she drove 6.5 hours to come to Ohio. Two of
her children made the trip to visit old friends. They would stay
in Ohio while we were at camp. Joseph would ride with us and
spend a month with his father. But we had business to attend to
We dropped Joseph off at her friend's home, where he'd get to
visit with her children for a few hours. There were a lot of kids
and junk food there. Joe had a great time.
Amy and I headed to Akron for a consultation at The Good Life.
This is a shop that does piercings and tattoos. Yes, you read
that right. Ironically, it's located between H and R Block and a
The first thing I noticed was the smell. It was more sterile than
a doctors's office. I took that as a good sign.
What were we doing there? Well, maybe I've lost my mind, but I
decided to get a tattoo. Let me tell you the story before you
start screaming at me...
When Joseph was five, we attended a six week divorce class
called "Children in the Middle." It was much better than the
half-day class required by the court. This workshop was sponsored
by Kent Townhall II and the school system. The children went off
for games and activities while the parents attended. the class. I
recommend this program to anyone in the Kent area who has
children and is going through a divorce.
Anyway, in one session, each parent was given a "worry stone."
The idea was to keep the stone in your picket and rub it when
things got too stressful. Let the stone sooth you so you don't
blow-up in front of your children. I picked a blue heart with a
tactile design. Blue has always been Joseph's favorite color. I
kept the stone on a shelf and nearly forgot all about it.
A few months later, as the custody trial loomed over us, Joseph
began having trouble sleeping. He was afraid he'd wake up in the
morning, and I'd be gone. I was desperately trying to find a
solution when I stumbled upon the heart again. I made up a ritual
to put my love and magic into the heart and told Joseph, "I am
always with you." He slept with that heart for many years.
so, that's what I wanted for my tattoo -- the heart and quote. I
brought the stone with me to the consultation. The only thing I
changed was the color. Instead of light blue, I wanted turquoise,
which is my birthstone.
We talked about what would be done, how they'd do it... blah,
blah, blah and set up an appointment for the following week. I
paid my non-refundable deposit and wondered if I'd have the guts
to go through with it.
Once we got Joseph back and returned home, it was time to pack.
The hardest part is always getting my medicine ready. I use a
different system while at camp. It's too easy to make a mistake,
and I did. I only packed two doses per day of my moderate
strength pain killer. It should have been three, especially with
all the signing I do at camp. I had my stronger pills with me but
never had to take them. Except for a stiff neck at the end of the
day, I was fine. That truly illustrates how far I've come in
dealing with the pain that once ruled my life.
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