I spent a lot of time at Cafe Rio on Friday. Nicki, Andrea, and I worked together at Tri Connections. Nicki was a support staff and eventually became a program manager over Supported Employment and Andrea was the program manager over Family Support and Supported Living. Andrea and I both work for the State, and Nicki is a stay at home mom living in Mississippi with her husband Joe and son Chase.
I forgot how much I loved working with Nicki and Andrea until we spent a couple hours reminiscing about our job working with individuals with a developmental disability. We supported and leaned on one another through: break-ups, a miscarriage, attempts to quit smoking, running a 5K, death of a co-worker, our office being closed, and a move across the country. Through it all, we have remained good friends and my life is blessed because of them. Nicki's son Chase was recently diagnosed with cortical visual impairment and he has multiple seizures everyday. Nicki knew there was something wrong months ago, but the doctor wouldn't listen to her. Andrea and I emailed and spoke to her on the phone encouraging her to keep fighting because she knew her child better than anyone and if she felt something was wrong, she was probably right. Chase now has a new doctor and Nicki is finally being heard and Chase is receiving the care he needs. Chase may not be able to see, but he knows the voice of his mother because whenever Nicki spoke, Chase would turn his head in her direction. So many life lessons shared during this lunch.
Friday night I ate at Rio with Chantelle, Meagan, Shannon, Kaydi, Sue, Suzy, and Becky. Kaydi was in town from Portland for 24 hours and I had to see her. I was so excited to see her that I couldn't stop myself from holding her hand while our picture was being taken. Kaydi tells the best stories so the next time you see her, be sure to ask her about the shark tooth and ask her to show you her camera case. I laughed so much during dinner and the rest of the night was just as entertaining. A few highlights from the white elephant party included: Chuck Norris t-shirts, inflatable guitars, a pregnancy test, a love machine robot that sings and dances, and an outhouse calendar.
Friday, December 14, 2007 is a day I will not forget.