Once a year, my parents take 5 or 6 days off without me. My dad attends the same conference every year in Barcelona for his work and he takes mom along so that she can enjoy a few days off.
For the third year in a row I got to spend a week at this fabulous place called “Villa Rozerood” which is a special holiday home for families that have a child with a disability. For me too, this is a real holiday and today I would like to tell you about this beautiful place and the great time I had there.
Villa Rozerood is located near the Belgian coast in the most Western town of Belgium called De Panne at a stonesthrow of the French border. It was founded in 2008 and located in a former monastery that was build in the early nineties and completely renovated to fit its new purpose. It is a non-profit initiative where families, who have children with a disability, can spend a weekend or a holiday under the caring support of a team of professionals and volunteers. But also for parents that need a little break like my mom and dad. They can leave their child in the professional and loving care of the people of Villa Rozerood for a couple of days. A welcome and necessary initiative that we are extremely grateful for.
As it was my third time at the Villa, the place is familiar to me. I already know the caretakers that work there on a voluntary basis and I always get a warm feeling returning there. It has become a home away from home for me. I arrived on monday evening and was happy that I could stay in the same room as last year, again familiarity is important for me. My parents did the intake talk to explain how to feed me, how to make me happy, the things I enjoy and the things I dislike – although the latter is very short list 🙂
After my parents said goodby and left I spent my first night sleeping like a baby, the coastal air does that to me I guess. After a good night’s sleep I started the day with a “snoezel” bath. I had to look up the English translation for this word but that doesn’t seem to exist. It comes from the dutch word “” which is a controlled multisensory environment (MSE) that serves as a therapy for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. It is a soothing and stimulating environment, called a snoezel room or, in my case, a snoezel bath
After my bath we went for a walk to the beach with two volunteers Sarah and Lisa where I played in the sand and enjoyed the wonderful Indian Summer sun. I love the feeling of the sand between my fingers but boy, that stuff gets everywhere!
After our walk I had a great home cooked lunch and then got to spend some time in playground that Villa Rozerood has in their backyard. It’s a great place with a boat where kids get to play on and Lisa pushed me on the swing which was awesome!
After my afternoon snack I was ready for a more quiet activity so I got to play in the snoezelbox. Again this is a place where all my sensories are stimulated and I love the toys they have there. Also the light and the mirror were very intriguing inside the box.
Then it was time for another bath to get rid of all the sand from this morning and I made sure the clean-up team knew I had been there. I splashed over the entire bathroom as I usually do at home too cause there is nothing I enjoy more than playing in the water and experimenting with the force gravity has on water… what goes up, must come down… somewhere 🙂
The rest of the week was just as much fun as the first day. I got to play with the volunteers and the other children that were staying at Villa Rozerood and I had the time of my life. I even found out that the other boy that was staying there, together with his mom and his sister, was the child of a former colleague of my dad. What are the odds hey?
Later in the week we also went go-karting on the seawall where I tested the legs strength of the caregivers. As you know from previous post, I love going fast and the faster they went, the more I laughed and enjoyed myself. Needless to say they were quite exhausted when the ride was over.
So the ladies needed a rest and what better way to come to their breath with some ice cream! They wondered if I liked vanilla ice but I didn’t take them long to realize that is one of my favorite treats in the world. I indulged in my ice cream and so did the two wonderful ladies that spent the day with me.
Aside from all the excitement I had last week I also got to hug and cuddle a lot with the beautiful people that give up their own private time to spend with me and other kids like me. These people are rays of sunshine on a cloudy day. They light up hearts and give love an affection to people who are in need. If the world would only exist of people with this kind of altruism, this would be the most loving place in the universe. We wouldn’t have war or poverty, there would be no hunger and all the sick people would be well taken care of.
Today is election day in Belgium… I hope people realize that we live in great country with great people, like the people at Villa Rozerood and that the most important thing in life is not beating other people at stuff – but pure selflessness and giving. Because I realize, more than anything, that the race of life is long, but in the end, it’s only with yourself!
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I look forward to writing the next one next week!
Have a great sunday!