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Kristin’s Travel Tale

Boston or Bust!
Submitted by Marilyn Ogan

Picture of three adults with CHARGE: Kristin and Ashley are seated, with Win standing behind them

Kristin, seated on left with Ashley (seated on the right) and Win (standing behind)

On June 16, 2016, Kristin flew to Boston, MA to participate in the celebrations of Perkins School for the Blind graduation. After all, her very best friend, Ashley Riva, was graduating! And Kristin would be able to visit with Win Edwards (also graduating) and Perkins staff Pam Ryan, Sharon Stelzer, Meg Majors and all the others she has met through the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation Conferences.
Mom got Kristin a non-stop, round-trip ticket to Boston…but none for herself. Kristin is an “old pro” at flying with her family…but it was the first time going “solo”! Both Kristin and Mom were a bit nervous, to say the least; Mom maybe a little more than Kristin because Mom posted on Facebook: Nothing quite as heart stopping as sending your youngest off on her own for the first time without family, friends, or staff that know her…but knowing someone is waiting at the other end sure helps! Gulp!!
After grabbing a quick breakfast at the airport (at 4:30AM, no less!), Mom was allowed to escort Kristin through Security and to the Boarding Gate…whew! Then she was whisked away by the Delta gate staff onto the plane, and Mom didn’t hear from her again until she landed in Boston. Kristin texted that she had arrived in Boston…before Mom even made it home from the airport!

Ashley’s mom, Tracey, and grandma met Kristin at the airport. They went to Perkins first. Because the Seniors were still in graduation practice, Kristin walked around campus. Mom wanted to try FaceTime; but Kristin told Tracey to talk to Mom…she was busy having fun and had already joined a yoga class in progress! Later they got Ashley and went home. They spent a lot of time catching up and getting ready for the next day’s graduation. Kristin was thrilled that Ashley had a swimming pool at her house! They spent a bit of time the entire week around the pool relaxing. Kristin now tells Mom that, “We need a pool!”

Kristin went to Friday’s graduation breakfast (Mom says it looks like she ate a lot)…it was yummy! Then came graduation. Kristin got to see Ashley do a speech…Ashley was even on TV!…and see her friends accept their diplomas. Afterwards, Kristin went with Ashley and her friend Celia to make a celebratory Build-A-Bear and for ice cream…a very BIG ice cream!

On Saturday they went to a party for Win; then came back to the house for Ashley’s party. Lots of people to see and chat with; it was a little overwhelming! Kristin flew home on June 24 and – as nice as Ashley’s house was, and how very hospitable Ashley’s family was – Kristin was glad to be back in her own bed. Overall, this experience will be one she cherishes. And her Mom? Well, she cherishes the fact that Kristin has some really good friends and had a great time. And learned that Kristin does a pretty darned good job being independent!