Wednesday, March 10, 2010
A few weeks ago, we went to our first-ever NOAH Bowl-A-Thon with the boys. This is NOAH's big fundraiser held across the country every year, so we were excited to finally connect with other NOAH families in Michigan. We were a little apprehensive about the idea of trying to entertain (read: maintain control over) the boys in a crowded bowling alley for that long, and we had no illusions that they would be the least bit interested in the actual game.
But we were pleasantly surprised.
Emerson actually took to the concept enthusiastically and willingly - marching out to the lane during his turn and allowing us to help him throw the ball. Fionn watched this all with great interest, playing the dual role of cheerleader and troublemaker. He was up and down stairs, grabbing at the balls as they shot out of the machine, trying to pull balls down from the shelves, attempting to run out in the middle of the lanes - anything he could think of that seemed remotely dangerous.
He did, however, take the game very seriously. Every once in a while he would find an empty lane, pause at the line, narrow his eyes in concentration, and then suddenly - and with much gusto - swing his right arm around like a limp, useless weight. Try to imagine what zombies would look like if they took up bowling and you'll get the picture.
Of course my three-year-old out bowled me during the game, but my goal was to meet other NOAH families and ensure the boys left with all 10 fingers still attached. I'm happy to report both goals were met.
We expected to meet maybe two other families with NOAH kids and maybe a couple NOAH adults, but instead they were several families. There was even one other family with two children with albinism, which I really wasn't expecting. For a couple of hours, having kids with albinism didn't seem unusual or remarkable in any way. We did still get a few "Are they twins?" comments from other families, but at least no "Where did their hair come from?" or "What color eyes do they have?" No stares or whispers or stupid comments. It was bliss.
All the kids from NOAH families.
All the OCA kids.
Fionn with Uncle Frankie, a friend who generously supported NOAH by bowling on our team.
We were already planning on attending our first big NOAH conference in D.C. this summer, but our bowl-a-thon experience made us even more excited about how much we would get out of the trip. Not to mention we now have NOAH people right in our own backyard that we can connect with on a regular basis.
I'm sure there's some profound bowling metaphor to be made here, but I'll spare us all. (Dammit, I still managed to pun.) Instead, I'm off to honor my sons' new-found passion for bowling by making them matching purple jumpsuits and hairnets. The Biners abide.