Long Distance Connection

 Dear Addie, 

You my dear are growing up in an age of technology. Good or bad it's happening. Text messages are replacing what has become the lost art of hand written letters, FaceTime is replacing your average phone call, and we are even on the cusp of having self-driving cars - real space age Jetsons type stuff! 

While some may say social media is a distraction to our day to day life, when used appropriately it can be an opportunity to keep in touch with friends (where our journeys have leads us apart) or even get to know people, you otherwise wouldn't have. 

We have a large family. Fact. 

Our path took us on this amazing journey and landed us back in NC, for what we hope will be a place to continue planting our roots. 

We have shared an open and honest look into our family's life on a weekly basis for sometime now. All in an effort to better educate people on autism and give a look at your life beyond the surface. 

Baby girl, I wouldn't change that for the world! 

While my letters are intended for you, I have tried to give a glimpse of our whole dream team, because that is what we are...a team. We are living, learning, and enjoying life together. 

We as humans all long for connection and belonging. Most often families will gather for reunions every 5, 10, 15 years or so. While these gatherings are irreplaceable, the fact of the matter is they are far and few between. Social media however has allowed us an opportunity to engage in an emotional connection within that empty time. 

With that in mind, I recently received a message from Papa Menzo's cousin, Sherryl.  A Fascinating thing about Sherryl is she has never met you in person, but only through our Facebook updates - How cool is that?!  She is always there with kind words of encouragement not only for you, but for our entire family.  She has a great sense of connection with you - even though she's never met you in real life, adores you, and is very proud of all that you do. 

While it's well known you have an enduring love for butterflies, to show her love and support, Sherryl wanted to do something special for you! She wanted to gift you with a personally made stained glass butterfly! 

But it didn't stop there! 

She also wanted to make something for Clara and Gabe as well.  She just needed a little help on the those two :)

Insert the challenge! 

A penguin and a dragon...I know right?! Couldn't they like something simpler like a heart or a star?!

With the challenge graciously accepted, the packaged arrived! 

Giddy with laughter and excitement...knowing how fragile I assumed they'd be, I took the liberty to pull them out of the box. There was an audible gasp - this was the real deal! No make and bake art kit here! We LOVED them! You even gave yours a big ole smooch! You then proceeded to carry it around the house never letting it leave your side.  You even held it firmly in your tiny hand as you stood playing the piano with the other.  I did eventually retrieve it from you, so that I could ensure the sun could have an opportunity to shine through it :)

Addie my love, perhaps one day you'll have your own social media outlet and I hope you too will use it for good. It can be a beautiful tool and getting to know people, as other have gotten to know you. 

This journey we are on can feel like a confusing, lonely place sometimes, but sharing it has blessed us with an unbelievable amount of love and support. We have built stronger relationships with our family and friends,  and even made new connections with others who have walked this path, are on this path, and some who have only laced up their shoes. 

So a big thank you to Sherryl Butz, our wonderful cousin, for her beautiful gifts! We can not begin to thank her for all the endless love and support! We look forward to the day that we can celebrate life's joy in person! She is incredibly talented and we are blessed and fortunate to have her artwork...made with love, hanging proudly in our home! 

You are loved Addie.