Over the years I have overheard many times that it was such a blessing to have you all as our role models. We quickly learned how we shared so many of the same values and each understood the importance of seeing your children’s strengths no matter how difficult this may seem. Now in adulthood, I am so appreciative of your support, as through my experiences with The NVLD Project I have learned this is relatively uncommon. Sadly, many families are afraid to speak up and be advocates. Thankfully you did and my parents were never worried about asking you questions or seeking your guidance.
Through OM and church we had the opportunity to meet you and your children and, truthfully, they were one of few who continued to understand us completely. When Jen and Jason babysat us after OM states, they were able to talk to my sister in a way that others couldn’t. Yes it’s true we had awesome babysitters, many of which were Jen and Jason’s friends, however Jen and Jason had the extra patience to manage my challenges. They understood I was really doing the best I could after a couple a long days being away from home. Families with children who have NVLD or similar conditions have a hard time finding sitters like this and I am so grateful that my parents had Jen and Jason especially in this situation.
Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to run Cross-country during high school and it would lead to a strong relationship with Jim. I always felt like the authentic me in Jim’s presence and I know there were adults who were surprised by how much I connected with you and how I used humor more during cross country than other settings. The truth is you understood my insecurities and knew how to bring out the best in me and for that I am eternally grateful. Running for you is a tremendous reason why you will always be a very special person to our family as you used your experience raising Jeff to become a fantastic coach to me. At first, we all feared with my social and motor skills deficits along with my learning differences that I wouldn’t have a purpose but with your empathy and understanding right away this feeling disappeared.
Fortunately, this led to having a relationship with Joann as well because she was someone who reminded me of my mom. I so enjoyed the conversations we had at the meets and at team dinners at your house. One of the most memorable conversations was how she used to spend hours with Jeff helping him with his homework. I especially remember talking about how math and science were hard for him as well. Furthermore, she always showed an interest in my personal success just like Jim always did. Yes, it is so true I am blessed with a great support team and with you and Jim it’s even more meaningful as you all showed me an extra amount of empathy because we were both on a similar journey and shared the same values.
Today while our lives have traveled on different paths the love we have for your family hasn’t wavered. You continue to be great friends and be supportive in so many ways. Because of you all, I have so many wonderful messages to deliver as I write for The NVLD Project. The articles range from having role models to inclusion in sports which I believe, through my experiences, is so important for those with an NVLD or a similar disability to learn about. It is extra special seeing your name on my donation page. This means so much to me because I know you’re all connected to your own causes and it touches my heart you chose to donate to us too.
To those with an NVLD reading this, please understand that having support outside your family is so beneficial. Whether it is from your personal connections or someone your school recommends, doing the journey alone only makes everything harder as I watched others not have the opportunity to be connected. It certainly can be hard at first though, I know getting and staying connected with others will lead to something special. While the Adams and Herzog’s are closer to other families, we have been through a lot together and our friendship is still incredibly special.
The Adams will always be my favorite family in the world!Share your own story