With school out and summer stretching out before us in a long golden arc, I've been thinking about traveling. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and most of our relatives are scattered around the far south, with the vast majority concentrated in Texas. At least a couple of times each year we board a plane and make the exodus down to spend at least a week or two house-hopping so that Connor gets a chance to be equally spoiled by everyone before we make the journey back home.
Truth: it's getting harder.
As Connor gets older, not only does he get heavier, which makes him much less portable than he was in the past, but he also develops more opinions of his own, and he isn't afraid to express those opinions through a combination of signs and top-volume shrieking. He also continues to add more equipment and medication, all of which needs to be carried with us rather than checked. And then there's the added excitement that his apnoeic seizures have been wildly out of control in the past few months, and this means that if we choose to fly by plane we could potentially be performing mouth-to-mouth at 30,000 feet. Basically we've developed into a flight attendant's worst nightmare; we're required to have a doctor's note releasing us to fly before they'll even let us on the plane. And I won't even mention the looks we get from the poor passengers crammed in next to us.
Driving comes with its own set of fun problems; length of time spent in the car, mapping out a route that has us spending the night only in cities with major hospitals, trying to figure out what we would do if Connor had a seizure while we were driving on the highway through, say, Buford, Wyoming (population: 2) . . . the list goes on.
And then once we get to our destination, we have more hurdles to leap over. Wheelchair van rental (provided we didn't drive). Communication barriers. Connor's severe social anxiety and reliance on routines. Non-wheelchair accessible homes. Certainly it would be easier for us to stay home.
But the connections we make and renew with family and friends are too important to us to not try and make it down, one way or another. And I have an instinctive dislike of the idea that rather than face the challenge of travel head-on we turn into some sort of hermits; it wouldn't be good for Connor OR us.
This year we may try the train; a leisurely (though extremely long) journey that might make it easier on the little guy as we could get a private car, but it would also make sure that if he had a medical issue we would be somewhere we could get immediate help. And it might make for a refreshing change of pace; it could potentially turn the journey itself into a vacation instead of a giant hassle.
Here's to new adventures!
You can find Jess at http://connorssong.blogspot.com.