Gavin had the pleasure of getting together with his girlfriend Gabrielle today! (Don't mind his expression, or worry that he is being strangled. It is just a very tight hug or maybe she is paying him back for the time he got her in a choke hold...) Anyways, now that the craziness of the holidays is over we will hopefully be able to get together on a regular basis again. We always look forward to our play dates together!
So how did this awesomely adorable duo meet, you may be wondering? I think it was fate! OK well here is the story but I think it really would have just been a matter of time before we crossed paths!
I think it was just over a year ago. After hearing so many people gush about how he was the cutest baby they had ever seen (it didn't really take much to convince me but I am a little bias of course!) I decided to see what his options were. I came across one that seemed legit and filled out an application online. I was supposed to include 3 pictures. Of course I was wondering if his limb difference would have any affect on his chances. So I decided to only include pictures of his face. That way, if he didn't get accepted, I would know that it wasn't because of his arm.
Weeks went by and I totally forgot about the application. Then one day I got an email that they wanted to represent Gavin! I was very excited and proud! So I called them back and we discussed some of the details. I wasn't really sure how to approach it but near the end of the conversation I just blurted out that Gavin is missing part of his left arm and I hope that won't be a problem. To my surprise, she told me that actually, they already have a client who is missing her left hand. A little girl named Gabrielle!
WOW! I was amazed by this. Maybe the modeling world wasn't so superficial after all! (I will have to write more about this later since unfortunately I don't believe this to be true at all). Anyways, she asked me if I would be interested in speaking to Gabrielle's mom and I said "Sure!" and agreed for her to pass on our phone number.
Not long later, the phone rang and it was Gabrielle's mom! She introduced herself as Janelle, and we immediately started chatting away like we had known each other for years. We had so much in common and also lived ridiculously close to each other! I think we probably could have talked for a week straight without running out of things to say.
We arranged to meet up for their first little play date. I was a bit nervous of whether we would get along in person. I remember hoping that she wouldn't be weird in person!! Hahaha!!! Thankfully I thought we had a great connection and it was awesome meeting them both. I was so amazed by Gabby. She is 7 months older than Gavin so she is always a few steps ahead. Which has been great for me to see how she does certain things and kind of know what to expect when Gavin gets to that stage. For example, the first time I saw Gabby clapping away on her left arm. It makes sense that she would clap like that but it was the first time I saw it. I had thought Gavin wouldn't be able to clap since he doesn't have 2 hands but I was so wrong! And now that I have met several little arm amputees, I see that its just a natural thing. They all clap pretty much the same way.
I was also so impressed with the way Gabby would walk around sticking toys under her armpit. She could carry a million things at once! That's another common thing for arm amputees but when you have never been around anyone with a limb difference, you don't know these things. It can be overwhelming having a young baby missing a limb or a hand and wondering how they are going to do all these simple, every day tasks.
CHAMP has a Matching Mothers program (which is more about Matching FAMILIES). Janelle & I just happened to match ourselves, but it is an awesome resource for parents. It is an indescribable feeling to have someone that completely understands. No matter how much support you have from friends & family, its not the same as having a friend who knows EXACTLY what its like. (also it doesn't hurt that you can get meals and travel expenses reimbursed from War Amps for visits with your matched family).
And most importantly, it is SO wonderful for the kids. Gavin & Gabrielle are already such great friends. They've already had countless play dates and both attended each others birthday parties. We also got to spend the weekend together at a hotel in London, ON for an annual CHAMP seminar back in October.
Janelle & Josh are awesome parents who have raised a super awesome little girl! We feel very blessed to have them in our lives. And I should give them a big CONGRATULATIONS because they are expecting another little one in March! It might be a little strange because their new baby is said to have all of his or her parts but I'm sure they will adjust just fine! :P
Gavin doesn't talk much yet but when I asked him today if he wanted to go see Gabby, he gave me a big, enthusiastic, "Yaaa!"
They have a very special bond and I hope it continues into a lifelong friendship! (Sorry guys, but you're not getting rid of us that easy!) ;)