A Family Affair….

A Family Affair….

They had been anticipating the Orlando trip for months:  counting down the days, laying out their clothes, rearranging work schedules and just simply getting excited.  It was the annual trip to the Family Cafe in Orlando, and the chandlers could barely wait until the day arrived.

The boys left on Thursday with John to get there a day ahead to set up the booths, and the girls piled into two cars Friday morning to arrive just in time to get the booth running.  When I saw the over-sized suitcases and the necessary tables and products ready to be loaded into the cars, I could not visualize how everything and everybody could fit, but they did, and their experiences exceeded all expectations.

The main focus of this annual event is to provide a place for thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families to connect, sharing information and products.  And, of course, the ScentsAbility booth, especially the Magic Candles section, was a main attraction.

Nevertheless, the take-away for the crew was less about their booth and more about other facets of the convention.  Jessica’s favorite part of the weekend was riding an adult two-seater tricycle, allowing her the freedom (with a friend helping to pedal) of cruising around the neighborhood.  Of course, they’re figuring out how to purchase one to use at home.  Shaun was impressed with all the service dogs and with the small TV that was part of the hotel’s bathroom mirror.  Billy, Khari and Michael were regulars at the Beeline Diner, which was open 24 hours.  And on Friday night the entire crew went to Pizza Hut to celebrate Kim’s birthday.

The highlight of the weekend was the dance, where hundreds of young adults with various disabilities danced the night away.  The evening was hosted by Chef Guido, the event’s mascot, while a Storm Trooper, Spiderman, Superman, Super Girl, and Anna from ‘Frozen”  joined the dancers.

And although I enjoyed their first-hand reports after they returned home, nothing convinced me more about the success of the weekend than their smiles in the videos of them all dressed up, dancing and just having a grand time with hundreds of young adults coming together as family for a common cause.

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