The first ten days in London were everything we imagined (besides the 90 degree temps with no A/C in our temporary housing.) We were up and out of the house every morning to explore a new neighborhood. The boys did better than we could have imagined. Dexter is almost four and has always been a go-with-the-flow easy kid. He still takes a 2-3 hour nap every afternoon, which was a welcomed break for mom and dad as we were beat from the heat and the sites and excitement as well. Shepard is 15 months and not yet walking (still a couple months away) which made logistics slightly challenging when he wanted to get out of his buggy and explore with the rest of us. We took every day in stride, we were never in a hurry to get to the next spot, because we knew it would still be there the next day for us to come back and explore.
One of my favorite memories will always be the evening we unknowingly stumble upon Hyde Park at the golden hour. We had taken the tube to find a new dinner spot and took a stroll afterwards (a european ritual we quickly became keen to). We quickly realized we were entering a corner of Hyde Park and the sun was setting, creating a beautiful backdrop for running and playing together.
We stopped at a cafe by the pond and a woman and young girl about eight years old approached Shep and I. Shep’s glasses tend to attract attention from curious onlookers. In this case, this woman was from the Middle East and had her own story to share, as her daughter had a similar story to Sheps. She felt compelled to come over and ask about our experience, why he needed the glasses, and we then discussed both her daughter and he having an aphakic contact from infancy (a result of having his lens removed in cataract surgery in March 2018). You don’t meet many people who have experienced the struggle of having a baby who wears a contact. This was something Matt and I were new to, and had been challenged with for a few months since Shep was prescribed his contact. We had lost it multiple times, fighting to put it in and take it out, disputing denied insurance claims (and losing) in the states to plead for them to cover some of the astronomical cost, especially since we had bought 4 within the first few months due to losing them.
Speaking with this stranger and sharing our frustrations with infant contacts, eye-patching, and desperation for wanting our children to be able to see the beautiful world around them as we can, instantly struck an emotion in me that this whole move felt right. I had joined facebook support groups for our medical condition, (Stickler Syndrome), and talked to strangers in waiting rooms during the countless eye appointments and I never came across another parent who struggled with an infant with a contact. Here we were, only living in this new country for a few days, 4,000 miles away, and this woman approaches me with the same sense of commradery and excitement to find another mother in this world who understands what she’s gone through with her daughter’s eyesight. I will never forget this night. We went home to our cramped, hot and sweaty temp apartment, and I felt validated. I felt like my world just got a whole lot bigger. I was excited for the diverse culture we had met and were about to meet, and to explore the opportunity of medical practices in another country.