Today I flew home. I hated leaving when the Family Assistance Center is still open and there are some significant things still happening, but I needed to get back today. Four members of our team are still there and will continue to care for the children.
I drove away from the football and soccer stadium and thought: If I ever come back to this stadium it will likely be for something fun, but to me it will always represent something completely different.
My first flight out of Orlando was PACKED with kids flying home with their families in Mickey Mouse t-shirts….several of them also seemed to be on sugar highs, which was fun for everyone. Someone next to me on my second flight asked me, “Where’d you fly from?” and when I said Orlando, he said, “Oh that’s fun!”. I nodded.
But to me, Orlando will now represent something different than before. I think the people of Orlando are changed too and Orlando is a different place. But for me, I think Orlando will always represent the privilege it is to be able to work with kids and families in critical, life-changing moments. And to be able to laugh and play and be silly with kids sometimes and other times be serious and solemn together, all while helping them communicate, express, and begin to process their thoughts, fears, and hopes. What an honor!
Additional Note: I honestly am not completely comfortable sharing all these thoughts in this blog, since it feels a little too personal and our audience has grown so big! But the CLDR team truly believes that there are many more CLS’s out there who can and should join this movement. My hope in sharing this is that others will catch the vision for how we can use our child life skills in the field of disaster relief. There is such a need! Thank you for reading and for all your support during this deployment. It has meant more than you could know.