Almost every summer for the past ten years my mother, sister, and I have been going to the White Mountains (Santa’s Village). Of course, therefore, our separate nuclear families in various forms have always been a significant part of our trip. This year, the trip has significant meaning to me because this is the last year my oldest son will most likely participate, and of course I am sad about that, but I am also thankful for the ten years he has allowed us (his crazy family) to magnify his significance in this family. First, he was the sole child, nephew, grandson, and now as the cool big brother and cousin.
That being said trips of any kind with someone with significant physical disabilities is quite an undertaking, but I think my family might win some kind of award for the amount of work it takes for the 4 of us to go on a “vacation”. It is very hard to remember the reason we are even allowed out of the house. A 4-hour trip is easily over 6 when you have to stop 3 times to go to the bathroom. My husband and I both have to have our mobility equipment (my wheelchair and his scooter) unloaded each time. The 3 yr has to be unbuckled and then the need for the bathrooms to get scoped out for accessibility and assistance in the actual stall. With that idea in mind, all aspects of a “vacation” follow similar patterns. Showering, eating, dressing, etc.
I cannot begin to explain how being this never-ending source of need makes me feel. It is horrible to feel like just being with me, nevermind my family, is work. I struggle every day about whether or not my output is worth the daily input of others. I would like to be able to answer definitively yes, but somedays……..
Needless to say, vacation is tiring. Yes, for me and my incredibly uncooperative body, but even more so for my trusted entourage. Believe it or not, I have mellowed a lot in my old age but everyone deciding who’s going to help Liz and when requires a lot of patience. Patience is not one of my strengths and therefore I work daily to develop it, as well as having extreme gratitude that I am unbelievably fortunate to have these people in my life. Year after year, they take on this enormous mission without hesitation.
Do not get confused and think that other than wheelchairs, somehow I think my family is perfect. In fact, please don’t make me laugh. We have ridiculous amounts of drama and petty bickering. Being able to put issues aside and be there to bring a smile to our kids’ faces or the twinkle of Christmas to a mom’s eye, is not something all people can and would do.
Christmas, hands down, is my favorite time of year! This yearly trip is my own way of bringing the “magic” to my family more than once a year. Instead, in reflection, I am reminded of the “magic” of my family.