Everyone was so nervous. When Dillon stepped out of the car, my throat caught and I couldn't breathe for a few very intense seconds as I took it in that a part of my daughter was standing there too. Seeing Dillon made that seem real to me for the first time. When his brother and sister and mom and dad all got out of the car and there was a whirlwind of hugs and introductions the kid energy sorta took over. I was glad it did because it turned out to be really fun. We all sat at the picnic table and chatted for a few minutes. I couldn't help it. I just stared at Dillon. Here in front of me was this boy, this boy I had heard about, wondered about, and felt connected to for a decade. And just under his t-shirt was my daughter Alex's heart beating steady and strong in his chest. I didn't ask to listen to it at this meeting. Dillon was pretty tense and I didn't want to freak him out.
The Jaap family. Brandon and Laura, Dillon, Cooper, and Hayley. I liked them all right away. And I was glad about that. These kind of meetings can go a million different ways so while you are trying to get your mind around your emotions, you are also trying to figure out theirs. I just wanted us all to feel okay. We still had some awkwardness - I mean, what do you say to each other at a time like this? It was a bit strained, but still good.... then I offered to let them ride the trikes, and IT WAS ON! They were a great ice breaker and everyone, kids and adults alike, rode the trikes up and down the street for hours. We even had three on a trike once. That's a record!
Dillon and Cooper's first time. Hayley looks a little sad because there were only two trikes.
She found a place to ride though:
She rode with Dillon...
And with Cooper. And with me.
And with her Dad. She wants her own trike now. A blue one. :)
When Dillon's Uncle Roger and Aunt Amy showed up, their daughter Ary got the lap spot. She LOVED riding on the trikes just like the big kids did. She even fell off, got chain grease on her arm, and kept smiling!
See? (Look at her little purple Keens. So cute. :)
Dillon was sooo good with her, and she adored him.
Ary and her daddy Roger.
Amy, Roger and Ary took us to dinner in Manitou a couple days after our meeting Dillon. We appreciated them reaching out to us. Hi guys!
Amy snaps a shot of Dillon and Ary.
Laura takes a spin.
Now that we've met we can continue our ride with a new sense of purpose, accomplishment, and hope. Alex's heart does go on, in more ways than one. I will never be the same after meeting Dillon. I couldn't be more pleased with Alex's heart's new owner. :)