|Sandy and Drew Davis at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. |
(Photo Credit: Drew Davis)
By Sandra Davis
I recently took a trip to Reston, Virginia with my son Drew Davis. At least that's where I thought we were going. But as fate would have it, we landed in what I can only explain it to be as Heaven! Well if we weren't in Heaven we were only one floor down! Upon arrival I met some very special people! And we were told it was a safe zone! Leave your judgement at the door! Drew and I had arrived at the 2017 annual Children's Craniofacial Retreat! Being that it was our very first year we have ever attended, I knew immediately that we have missed out on years of amazing times and relationships! It actually looked like a family reunion! Hugs all around and huge smiles!
What I found most interesting was all of the special little people and big people with facial differences. Yes, I said differences, not defects! We were there to celebrate, embrace and love on those differences! Because basically, don't we all look different?!!! One really amazing person, among many, that we met was named David Roche! David was so full of life, with a great sense of humor and a gift of gab! He shared his story of being born with a birth mark that eventually lead to having had to have his lips removed. But don't feel sorry for him! Through an incredible loving family, David learned how to love himself! He's cooler than most people I know and snagged a gorgeous woman as his wife! The most important lesson I learned from David was that he feels blessed to have been born this way because it made him look inward to find his true beauty! And he is beautiful! That beauty goes well below the surface to his soul and shows best through his eyes and his heart! One minute into his speech, I didn't really see anything different but one of God's creations made into His own image! I could have sat and listened to David all day! He was truly inspirational! It's such a shame that our society goes by standards set by a shallow group of people, like in magazines, that dictate to readers what beauty is!
I experienced true beauty this past weekend in the hearts and souls of all I met! You felt free from ridicule and loved for who you are! Parents were happy to have someone else there that could understand their journey, children played together uninhibited and without the stares. Young adults with facial differences laughed and discussed their ways of navigating through life, the challenges of school, work, and relationships. Siblings were there also, sharing their experiences of growing up in a family with a journey most different than their peers; a tough journey sometimes, yet truly rewarding!
I only wish I had known about the kind of support that the CCA group provides throughout the years of raising Drew. We have a new family now! A safe place! A place where judgement has no stand! A world of new friends!
My heart is so full and I want to help others understand that facial differences are just that....differences! It doesn't change who that person is on the inside. It doesn't change the talent one has or the desires of their heart. We are the same with just different packaging! I can only say that it was an amazing trip to see that even though my new friends may have to overcome obstacles that many of us will never know, they are still incredibly able to do whatever God has blessed them to do! I'm so beyond grateful to call this group family now and cannot wait until next year where we will come together for another reunion!