Thursday, 13 March 2014

Very Special Kids - Annie's Cottage

I have said many times that you meet the most amazing people when you give birth to a special needs child.
This past long weekend was no exception.

After I returned from hospital with Tom, at the very end of last year, I rang Very Special Kids in Malvern.
Amelia, and our family, has been part of their organisation for quite some time now.
They offer many things.
One.... is two places to "get away to".
Our case worker was able to get our names down to stay at a place over the long weekend in March.

As the day arrived, anxiety was building.
The place was 3.5 hours away.
I like MY bed.
We have had REALLY bad experiences staying away from home.
Tom was BEGGING us not to go.
Tom wanted to see his beloved Melbourne Demons Football team play in a town 20 minutes away.
Scott and I were stressed about what to pack and what we needed.
And I have this unusual OCD with cleanliness and hygiene.

Amelia was the only one REALLY excited !!!!

We did not pack what we needed ...... but it did not matter.
We did not have to worry about hygiene....or Tom.

After a very LOOOOOONG drive of Tom asking "Are we there yet?", we finally arrived.

The farm is in the middle of nowhere.
A lovely "older" couple own the 80 acres.
Their names are Peter and Judith.
They live there and two of their daughters also have homes on the property.

A separate driveway led us to "Annie's Cottage" named after Judith's grandmother.

As we parked the car, Judith walked over to welcome us.
As she showed us through the house, Scott and I were gobsmacked.
It was seriously like a display home.
It had everything we could have wanted and more!
Flat screen TV's in every room, playstation, Wii, shower chair for Amelia and a split system aircon/heater in every room.
It was beautiful.

Outside, Judith showed Tom all of the activities available for him.
He was beside himself excited.
As well as a cubby house and playroom, there was also a shed full of bikes and helmets.
The family had even developed makeshift ramps out in the paddock for the bikes!
There was also basketball, football, cricket and a huge playground.

Two nights was NOT going to be enough!

There was a DVD left on the entertainment unit for us to watch about the cottage.
It had been available to VSK families since 1994, but unfortunately due to an electrical fault, it burnt down a few years ago.
Enter "Random Acts of Kindness" hosted by Scott Camm.
While Judith and Peter were whisked away for the weekend, one of the daughters supervised the whole place being rebuilt.....and some.

Who pays the upkeep, electricity etc etc etc ??

Judith and Peter.

Who offers time away for families with a very ill child?

Judith and Peter.

They have never even had a child that needed Very Special Kids.

We travelled to Lakes Entrance (so much like Noosa) and Meetung one day and spent the rest of the time reconnecting as a family.
If Tom had it his way, we would have had a 3 day family cricket test, but we ALL got something BIG out of it.

You even end on a bigger HIGH.
As Judith and Peter come to say goodbye to you, they take you to a "Magic Closet" that is full of donated gifts and are told to just "choose what you want!!!".

Will defintley be asking to go back again........for longer.

 Tom's Bed

 Our Bed

 Our Farm Boy

 One of the gorgeous daughters took us to feed the animals

 Lakes Entrance


 Tom and Peter

 Our handprints, left as a reminder that we stayed there.

 Judith with the kids

 Pure and utter happiness