St.Augustine Florida is a popular tourist town that many people will excitedly exclaim "oh I've been there, I love that place" if brought up in conversation. It has a very very rich Spanish history and the buildings to prove it. I absolutely love St. Augustine but for a more personal reason.
In 2002 my daughter, Ashley, turned 13 years old but before that, since about 8 years old, she would have hundreds of drop seizures every day; all day and all night. While drop seizures are not as well know as grand mall seizures I honestly think that hers were more disruptive because it had caused at least an ER visit every week with something needing to get stitched up. Unfortunately for her she spent a lot of time in wheel chairs and scooting around to get things so that she wouldn't fall down and get severely injured. If you can imagine how hard it was to see her want to walk, run and play like any normal kid and she had the ability to do so, but she simply could not because no sooner than she got up she would collapse to the ground.
During those tough years I almost lost her on 4 different occasions because, for whatever reason, she would have a few episodes of seizures that would cause her to completely stop being able to take in a breath. First responders would have to bag her and I would watch helplessly while she was being rescued. Just like many people, our family was going through a time where we had a lot of stress. I could go on to many details of the struggles but it is much too long of a story.
|Wally and Ashley (before Ashley started to have drop seizures)|
|Ashley's 13th Birthday|
After a long ride we finally made it to St. Augustine and found our hotel on the beach. It was the first time that I had seen the ocean this was such a moving moment for me. I had always dreamed of travelling, especially to the ocean shores, and for a long time it looked like I was never going to get a chance to. As I brought the kids out to the beach for the first time I noticed that I had not planned for off roading with Ashley's wheel chair. No matter how hard I tried I could not maneuver her chair through the sand. So I took a deep breath, folded it up and put it along side the rail. Then taking Ashley's hand we ventured out to the water's edge and she fell. But to my surprise she did not get hurt and there was no blood or no broken stitches from the last injury, she just looked shocked and got up.
The sand was soft enough that she wouldn't get so banged up if she did fall. It was the first time in years where Ashley could actually play like a normal kid and I didn't have to feel like I was a cat ready to spring in action at any sign of falling. The entire time that we were on the beach Ashley was free. Her brother and her spent many hours jumping waves and discovering treasures along the shore. When it came time to leave St Augustine they begged to stay longer. Needless to say once we arrived in Disney World they were very happy we left but that moment of peace in Saint Augustine will always be a treasured memory.
|Ashley and Wally (Ashley standing safely on her own with her brother was a special occassion)|
Not only did God give me and my children the strength to get through a very tough time He gave us great beauty and happiness amid the stress and tourmoil. One of those blessings was found on the shores of Saint Augustine.
|Disney World Heals All Broken Hearts!|
|It was nice to see them smile and to be able to act like kids|
|Ashley's High School Graduation|