“When We Knew We’d Be OK”

Parents discuss coming to terms with their child’s diagnosis


Published:

The Comer Family of Apex

For most parents, the moment when a child is diagnosed with a serious condition or disability probably feels like the end of something — of family life as they know it, of their dreams for the future, of their sense of security in a world that, up to that very moment, was beckoning to them with its promises.

And yet, in a show of resiliency that can seem astonishing to outsiders, many families find their way back from that place of fear and anguish to reclaim a sense of normalcy, finding satisfaction in daily victories, both great and small, or community among others who walk a similar path. They embrace a new purpose. They cherish unexpected milestones. They find reasons to rekindle hope.    

We asked three such Triangle parents to share with us how they made that journey. Here are their stories.

 

Finding a New Normal

“The human connection was so important.”

Gwen Comer, Apex

My husband, Scott, and I have a blended family, including three college-age children, Slade, Alexis and Sloane; Mackenzie, who is 4½; and Libby, who is 2. When Mackenzie was 22 months old, she was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder that is first recognized in infancy and seen almost always in girls.

Until she was 12 months old, Mackenzie developed normally, had a handful of words and was meeting typical milestones. We became concerned by her sudden loss of speech and inability to walk independently at 16 months. We visited a developmental nurse and subsequently saw our first physical therapist for evaluation. The PT said Mackenzie had hypotonia, or low muscle tone, which she described as a neurological issue. I nearly panicked at that very moment. I requested a visit with a pediatric neurologist, who ordered some diagnostic testing. Then came the diagnosis. We could not have been less prepared for the shocking news that day. 

Rett syndrome (named after Andreas Rett, the doctor who discovered it) is caused by mutations on the X chromosome. It causes problems in brain functions that can include learning, speech, sensations, mood, movement, breathing, cardiac function and even chewing, swallowing and digestion. Symptoms appear after a period of normal or near-normal development until 6-18 months, when there is a stagnation of skills, including communication and purposeful hand use. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns. There currently is no cure for Rett syndrome.

For the first month post-diagnosis, I was numb. Getting my arms around this information was overwhelming and confusing. I was four months pregnant and terrified not only for Mackenzie but also for our unborn child. Over the next few months I found myself reading until I fell asleep every night, trying to soak up any information I could find, to understand what this meant today and what it would mean for us going forward. I wanted desperately to connect with other families, just to know what life was like on this “other side” that we never expected to be a part of.

I will never forget the first Rett parent I talked to. He said, “It will be OK. You will find a new normal.”

The words “It will be OK” will resonate with me forever. This was my first realization that the human connection was going to be so important to me. I could read scientific articles for nights on end, but the actual contact with another family, another parent and another life unexpected — that was going to be an important coping mechanism for me and my family. So the quest began, to reach as many Rett families in the area as possible. To learn from them, share with them, connect with them, feel with them. To ask, how do we find our new normal? And with every new family connection, despite their daughter’s severity of symptoms, mutation or current family challenges, I began to feel that it would be OK.

We are grateful to have a lot of support, including our medical team, volunteers, family and friends, to ensure Mackenzie is as “typical” a 4-year-old as possible and that her future is a bright one. While we worry about Mackenzie’s future and the future of all girls affected by Rett syndrome, we focus our energy on how we can effect change by fundraising and raising awareness of Rett syndrome, by living our “new normal,” and by doing what most parents do: pave the way for the best possible future for their children.    

 

Accepting a Different Pace

“This is not a sprint — it’s a marathon.”

Kimberly Burrows, Holly Springs

After close to three years trying to get pregnant, my husband, Dave, and I were so happy when we found out we were expecting our son, Zach. He was born in 2002 and, despite being four weeks early, was a perfectly healthy child.

Zach was always very active, but by age 5 his activity level had intensified. He started kindergarten, where behavior and focus problems soon followed. We had a new baby at home, and initially we thought that this may have impacted him. However, he was finally diagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Over the next six years, we received additional diagnoses including autism, Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety, sleep issues and a possible seizure disorder. Our lives quickly became multiple monthly visits with doctors and specialists, calls from school and meltdowns at home. As hard as it was for us as parents to cope, it was even harder to see our child in pain. Zach had very few friends and was struggling to fit in.

Zach Burrows of Holly Springs

There were so many times we wondered, “Why is this happening?” or “How can we get through this?” Our saving grace was a wonderful therapist who reminded us that there was hope. He would often tell us, “This is not a sprint — it’s a marathon.” He helped us find the right doctors and therapies.

The other person who helped us through this was Zach. Despite his disabilities, he is such a caring, loving child that he inspired us to keep going.

In November 2013, we moved to North Carolina. We hoped the move would be a fresh start for our family and that we would have better access to healthcare. We were pleased when Zach adjusted well at his new school and started making friends.

Then, in May 2014, Zach was dealt another blow. What started as a stomach bug turned into a five-day stay at Duke Children’s Hospital. He recovered, but a week later the symptoms were back. He was readmitted and diagnosed with a rare metabolic condition, glutaric acidemia, which inhibits his body’s ability to process fat and protein. At the time he was admitted, Zach was in metabolic crisis. Fortunately, he recovered, but it has meant drastically changing his diet. Imagine telling a 12-year-old he can no longer eat meat, have pizza with friends or go out to eat with his family. His diet now consists of 12 servings of fruit and fewer than 50 grams of fat and protein per day. He can’t run or exercise for long periods of time because he doesn’t have energy reserves like other people.

My husband and I dealt with this diagnosis differently. Dave is a scientist, so he dove into the research, determined to read everything about this disorder so it could be treated better. I had a more emotional reaction: I got mad. For a week, I was upset with the world, angry that Zach had to face another challenge. However, my “mad” got me through and allowed me to move to the next stage, which was acceptance.

But Zach’s diagnosis also came as a relief. It helped explain why Zach had had so many problems with medication for his other disorders. We finally had the answers we had sought for so many years, and we saw there was a plan for the future. That is not to say it is easy, but it is better. He still struggles and there are times when his new diet frustrates him, but we are so proud of him. Zach has overcome so much, and he refuses to let his disabilities define him. He is truly remarkable!

 

Readjusting Expectations

“The thing about Tucker…”

Bill Baragona, Cary

We were at the doctor’s office halfway through my wife’s second pregnancy when the doctor told us there was a 50/50 chance of a major problem. That’s when it all started. It was 2001, and life was never the same.

In our case it was tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in many parts of the body.  In some cases the tumors are in harmless places and do nothing. In Tucker’s case the tumors are small knots in his brain that cause seizures and prevent typical mental development. When he was first born we had no idea how bad it would be, but the doctor told us upfront that any number of knots in the brain over eight would be a problem. Our hearts were torn out when the MRI came back with a number of 32 and counting.

For us this means we have a child who will never talk, who eats his clothes and anything else he can get in his mouth, and who can never be left unsupervised. A child whose room can only have a bed with a special box built around it so he doesn’t eat the sheets, and whose pajamas consist of a wrestling singlet safety-pinned to his shirt and shorts, because without the pins we will come in and at least one article will be gone, down the old gullet. A child whose only sign of real intellect is in his ability to beat whatever system we come up with to keep him out of that sort of trouble. At least that’s something.

Tucker Baragona

But the thing about Tucker is that he never smarts off or is disrespectful. He never underachieves, and we never get so fed up with him we want to scream. As the father of two other children who are typically developing, I know that is a normal feeling with most kids. Tucker can’t make you mad, and he never needs to be punished. He will never say he hates you, and he will never leave.

When I consider when it was that I knew we’d be OK, I can honestly say that, for me, it was not a single incident or time I can recall. It was more the growing understanding of the role expectation plays in our own happiness.

 

The other day my older son Gabe’s coach came up to Tuck, who’s now 13, and reached out to shake his hand. Now, Tucker grabs everything and everyone, so naturally he took the outstretched hand. It was his first handshake. I almost cried. He didn’t realize he was “shaking hands,” but the moment just seemed so normal. If you hold out your hand right to his face, he will lean forward and kiss it. It feels the same as when my other sons get an “A.” When we wake him up and he has not eaten his clothes, or if the baby gate is down and he didn’t get in the shower fully dressed and turn it on, it feels just like when a typical kid does his chores. It feels good. He has almost learned to hug and he knows what peanut butter is. I feel a sense of pride when he catches the pantry door open and brings me the jar. 

It’s that kind of thinking that will get you through the challenges of your child’s disability with your heart intact.

 

Karen Lewis Taylor is a freelance writer and editor and has served as project editor for Exceptional Child since its inaugural issue, Special Edition, in 2010.

 

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Calendar

November 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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Show up in your PJs for breakfast and Seussical fun before a 10 a.m. showing of "The Grinch" (the new animated 2018 movie). Pose with The Grinch and Max and...

Cost: Member: $11/adult, $9/child. Non-member: $12/adult, $10/child

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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More information

The comic book pop culture takes over Durham with vendors, a cosplay contest, special guests, panels by industry professionals, and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $25-$35/person. Free for ages 9 and younger with a paid adult

Where:
Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

See artists' studios and their creations during a self-guided tour. Visit the website for details.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County
, NC  27510


Sponsor: Orange County Artists Guild
Website »

More information

Shop antiques, crafts and art, and enjoy food trucks at this artisan and vintage market in downtown Cary.

Cost: Free

Where:
Fidelity Bank Parking Lot
100 W. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Contact Name: Leslie & Jessica
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More information

Tour 20 pottery studios and two teaching facilities. Learn how pottery is made and ask questions of all the professional potters. Locally crafted pottery will be for sale at all...

Cost: Free

Where:
Claymakers
701 Foster St
Durham, NC
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Telephone: 919-544-2451
Contact Name: Cynthia Aldrich
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Design, build and test a marshmallow tower with NC State Engineering ambassadors. 

Cost: $7/person. Free for age 1 and younger

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids ages 6-10 track deer in the nature preserve and discover their hiding places. Preregister online using course code #228039.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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Young adults with developmental disabilities enjoy a book club featuring "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."  The group meets most Sundays at 4:45 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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More information

Shop for unique gifts at this three-day fair. See website for times.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Enjoy a special Jewish-themed storytime with Morah Dassy Cotlar.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

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Enjoy the story about turkeys and numbers by Tony Johnston and learn about colors outdoors. Ages 18 mos – 3 yrs with adult. Register online. 

Cost: $2/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

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Take the family for Kids Night at Chick-Fil-A in Garner. Enjoy a free indoor playspace, face painting and balloon twisting with Mimi the Clown. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chick-Fil-A
2720 Timber Dr.
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: The MelodyMaker Entertainment
Telephone: (919)639-9328
Contact Name: Melody Scruggs
Website »

More information

Stone Soup Supper is back for its fourteenth year in a row, with more chefs than ever before. Enjoy soups from 20 local chefs while shopping unique pottery pieces from The Triangle Potters...

Cost: $25/person

Where:
McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman St
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Telephone: 919-836-1642
Contact Name: Jordan Hewitt
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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Enjoy stories with Amy Godfrey.

Cost: Free

Where:
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Preschoolers ages 3-5 (accompanied by an adult).  The winter birds are arriving at the nature preserve! Make paper-tube binoculars and talk a walk to spy on our bird buddies in the forest and...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

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Strut down a woodland trail to learn about that fantastic feathered fowl: the turkey, and enjoy theme related stories and activities for parent and child aged 3-5 years. Register online. ...

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Celebrate the grand opening of Duluth Trading's new store at Crossroads Boulevard in Cary. Enjoy a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local dignitaries at 9 a.m., and live lumberjack shows...

Cost: Free

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Duluth Trading
301 Crossroads Blvd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Explore a part of art. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. Purchase tickets online for workshops at 9:15, 10:15 or 11:15 a.m.

Cost: $6/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
NC Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607-6494
View map »


Telephone: 919-715-5923
Website »

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Mix, measure and flip seasonal hotcakes and taste the comforts of cozy fall cuisine. 

Cost: $7/person. Free for age 1 and younger

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Help plant a new tree that flowers, produces fruit, and has flaming leaves. After a brief ceremony to declare Chapel Hill as a Tree City, you can toss a shiny new penny and a shovelful of dirt to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Stop by the market to enjoy fresh North Carolina collards with all the fixings.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Website »

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During the holiday season, come share the excitement as Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in the District. Take the family to enjoy train rides, magical winter lights, live music and visits...

Cost: Free; $5 donation for sledding

Where:
Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-234-6710
Contact Name: Conner Dixon
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Go on an owl prowl to discover the kinds of owls and other night-time birds that are found in the Piedmont. All ages. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Kick off holiday festivities with Waverly Place’s 7th Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Arrive early for dinner and socializing with family and friends, then make your way to The Park area...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waverly Place Shopping Center
307 Colonades Way
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

This class is a chance for adventurous women to get together for a fun-filled workshop where we explore the basics of aerial silks. No need for a background in aerial yoga, this is a workshop...

Cost: $25

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 188-858-79530
Contact Name: hoa bui
Website »

More information

Give Gala has been celebrated for its unique donation model where tickets to the event are exchanged for time and services that benefit terminally ill children and their families. Attendees...

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Enjoy a baby expo offering loads of product information, vendors, parent tips, resources and samples.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Buy Buy Baby
Website »

More information

See Raleigh's annual Christmas parade, featuring large helium balloons, dance and performance groups, floats, Santa and more. Parade held rain or shine. Sponsored by ABC 11.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver take a relaxing stroll to experience nature. Register online. Choose course #117302. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Enjoy face painting and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a Woodplay’s largest sale of the year on playsets and Springfree Trampolines

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodplay Playsets of the Carolinas
9521 Lumley Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-781-6556
Website »

More information

The Durham Art Walk Holiday Market is a festive fine arts and crafts event that kicks off the holiday season in downtown Durham. The Holiday Market invites art lovers of all ages to experience a...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Preschoolers ages 3-5 (accompanied by an adult).  The winter birds are arriving at the nature preserve! Make paper-tube binoculars and talk a walk to spy on our bird buddies in the forest and...

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

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Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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Learn about the state’s American Indian culture from musicians, dancers, craftspeople and storytellers from eight state-recognized tribes. Over 100 presenters will fill the museum and...

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Originally from Salvador da Bahia, Caique Vidal is an accomplished performer, percussionist, and songwriter, blending the rhythms of samba, reggae, salsa, bachata, pop, rock and Bossa Nova in both...

Cost: $5

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Carolina Theatre of Durham
309 W. Morgan St.
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Telephone: 919-560-3030
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Take Fido to enjoy a pop-up dog park featuring four acres for dogs to roam, and a small dog area too. Food vendors and pet-themed vendors will be on site.

Cost: Free

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Dix Park
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Raleigh, NC  27603
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Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Mary's School
900 Hillsborough St.
Raleih, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

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Join costumed interpreters Jon and Karena Potter in learning and dancing 19th-century country dances. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Take part in a fun and playful aerial yoga and movement class for parents and children age 5 and older. Stretch, move, play and learn aerial yoga poses. Breathing techniques will be taught to...

Cost: $35 child and adult pair, or $15/child and $25/adult

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 888-587-9530
Contact Name: hoa bui
Website »

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This is a fundraising event for Fuquay-Varina Downtown Association and features things people love about North Carolina: BBQ, Blues and Craft Beer! Guests are encouraged to sample delicious...

Cost: Free admission; $10 for 10 tasting tickets

Where:
Stephens Hardware Bldg
405 E Broad St
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
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Sponsor: Fuquay-Varina Downtown Assoc
Telephone: 919-552-0848
Contact Name: Rachel Cornett
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Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Visit a tabletop display to learn how colonial frontier communities prepared for the dark, chilly days ahead. Knead bread, roll candles and try your hand at corncob darts to sharpen your...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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The 2nd Carolina Brewing Co. Sip & Shop & Give features Mr Puebla Tacos food truck, Sweet Escape by Poblanos dessert truck and live music from Mike & Amy...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carolina Brewing Company
140 Thomas Mill Rd.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
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Sponsor: Carolina Brewing Co. & Brandy's Soy Candles
Telephone: 919-244-8829
Contact Name: Lee
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See Wilkerson's fall flush and join a naturalist guide for a hike focused on our beautiful deciduous trees. The program is designed for adults, but children ages 5 and up are welcome with...

Cost: $2

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px Arial; color: #0433ff; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Take a favorite stuffed animal friends to explore...

Cost: $20/adult, $15 ages 3-12. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
Museum of Life and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704
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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Build a boat from just cardboard and duct tape and try to make it across Campus Hills Pool with just your wits and a paddle. Trophies will be awarded. Ages 6-15. Advance registration...

Cost: $6/resident, $11/nonresident per two-person team

Where:
Campus Hills Pool
2000 S. Alston Ave.
Durham, NC  27707
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All evening and into the night, 3000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, scratch...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting and other seasonal activities.

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Enjoy a sunset kayak adventure. Meet at the launch point 1 hour before sunset, just in time to review guidelines and equipment. Then go on  a leisurely paddle, keeping an eye out for wildlife...

Cost: $35/person

Where:
Jordan Lake
, NC


Sponsor: frolyk
Telephone: 866 481 6166
Contact Name: Lili Engelhardt
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Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #117094.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Talented dance students perform the lavishly staged holiday ballet alongside guest artists from Carolina Ballet. Show times are at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $12-$27

Where:
Fletcher Theater, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

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During the holiday season, come share the excitement as Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in the District. Take the family to enjoy train rides, magical winter lights, live music and visits...

Cost: Free; $5 donation for sledding

Where:
Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-234-6710
Contact Name: Conner Dixon
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Look through telescopes, facilitated by Morehead staff and dedicated volunteers, at a variety of objects in the sky. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will be prime targets, along with many other deep...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dix Park
101 Blair Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Enjoy a magical lighting exhibition for the entire family, under the cover of darkness artfully lit on a crisp November evening. Enjoy live music, food trucks (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday),...

Cost: $10/member, $20/nonmembers, $5 for children

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Magazine

Our holiday issue hit newsstands until just after Thanksgiving. Check out the digital version now!
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.