I had a 6 mile run on the schedule today, so I decided to run in the area that my training group and I run in every Tuesday and Saturday. I am familiar in that area, there is lots of hustle and bustle and there are sidewalks so that I don't have to run in the streets. At about mile 2, I found myself in the area of Jazzie's old school. Before Ohio Valley Voices moved to it's current location, they rented space in a church and the toddler center where Jazzie started was actually housed in a residence that is located right next to the church. I decided to run past it, just for old time's sake ;-)
As I got closer and the school was in my sight, a ton of memories started rolling over me. I mean, this is where it all started. I remember visiting the school with Matt and Jazzie, shortly after returning home from China in 2003. Jazzie had just been diagnosed with a profound hearing loss in both ears, she had not gotten her cochlear implants yet and Matt and I were exploring all our options. Jazzie was this age:
I vividly remember walking through the doors and meeting with the school's director. She gave us a tour of the school and we got to visit the classrooms in person. Matt and I were amazed by what we were seeing AND hearing. These kids were not only talking, they were talking well and we could understand them! Right then and there is when we made the decision that we wanted Jazzie to receive cochlear implants and that we wanted her to attend Ohio Valley Voices. Jazzie received her first cochlear implant that December and started attending OVV in February.
Fast forward to this morning... I actually turned into the parking lot of the school so that I could look at it a bit longer. There are so many wonderful memories there. This is where Jazzie first started mimicking sounds. This is where Jazzie said her first 2-syllable word - I wish I could say it was the word mama, but it was actually the word meow ;-) This is where we got to experience magic; where we got to experience the miracle of our deaf daughter starting to talk. It is also the place where Jazzie first met her best buddy Sophie.
(Not the best picture of them, but I think they were both a bit in shock by all the people in the audience during the Holiday Program).
This is also the building where I met other parents of deaf children who have become close friends. Jazzie just blossomed there...
At the end of Jazzie's time at the old building:
Jazzie spent two years at the old location before the school moved. Even though the school is in their own, high tech building now and Jazzie spent another 2 great years there, the church and the "toddler house" as we used to call it, hold very special memories. Running by it this morning was great. After I ran around the parking lot a couple of times, I moved on, but only after being reminded of how far Jazzie has come and why I was there in the first place: to train to run the marathon in honor of Jazzie and to raise money for that wonderful school that changed our lives forever.