June 08, 2014

Take Me Out Of The Ball Game

No, that preposition is not a typo.  We did take everyone out to the ball game, but Bridger's message was sent loud and clear that he wanted out of the ball game.

Taking Bridger to mingle in a crowd of tens of thousands - ha.  I knew I had my work cut out for me.  The miracle of the experience -- we made it 3 1/2 innings!

We decided to be crazy brave and take the troop to a Nats game.  We take the older ones all the time and Alan and I enjoy our date nights in our favorite front row seats on the first base dugout.  Now it was time to test out the view from the wheelchair section and take the whole clan - Ty included!

It was the most beautiful day last Saturday -- one of those rare days in Virginia that for the rest of the summer we say, "Remember THAT day? Remember that day with a blue sky and no humidity or gnats?"

We had a great pre-game feast of all the best ballpark foods.  Bridger was obliged to feast on a bun and Ty got to smell all the happenings from his spot tucked under the table.  Ty and Bridger got to meet Teddy Roosevelt.  Bridger would have been content to spend the whole game looking at him!

The kids loaded up their peanut sacks and we found our wheelchair accessible row.  Ty was a little unsure of his latest adventure.  He nestled in next to Bridger and the boys enjoyed the opening pitch together. Content were they both . . . until. . . the Nats hit their first homerun.  That crowd of tens of thousands were now screaming and it was all echoing under our covered seating area.  Ty thought he should be happy but didn't know what to do - so he pounced up to me to help him get through it.  I calmed him down and put him into a "visit" on Bridger's lap, who also emotionally did not know how to handle all of the commotion.  They hugged their way through that difficult moment.  The runs that followed later in the inning with the accompanying cheers and roars would send Ty right to Bridger's lap as Bridger covered his ears.

It was a long first inning for Bridger and it was time to abort mission.  Normally the others would have to follow and leave the fun as well, but with Bridger's new responsibility with his service dog I thought I would see if I could buy some time for the others.  So I told Bridger he had to walk his dog.  We left the echoing loud covered area to the open sunshine and walked the perimeter of the stadium (over and over).  Bridger just stared around the corner of his pushchair to make sure Ty was following.  I couldn't resist the fun of stopping at some fun photo ops.  Several other strangers wanted to take a picture too.  How long a random picture of someone's service dog is going to sit on their memory card is anyone's guess.

Escaping the loud enclosed sounds for the glaring open sunshine was just trading one set of problems for another.  Bridger has sensory reactions to bright, full sun as well - including seizures, so I knew our game time was about to expire.  I didn't realize how that expiration moment would come with no warning.  Out of nowhere, Bridger snapped.  Time to grab the others and escape.  I raced through the crowds back to our seats to get the family trying to avoid hitting others with Bridger's flailing arms and legs.  Ty followed dutifully close to me and new he was a dog on a mission - Abort Game!

The others thought it was such a treat to have been able to enjoy the game for as long as they did.  They had their hot dog, soda, peanuts and saw a home run.  "Check" to everything that is on the game list for a 12 and under crowd.

We piled back in the van and drove home talking about our fun excursion.  Perhaps others would have thought it was a miserable day that they had to leave the game so early due to a child melting down.  Making it 3 1/2 innings?!  We call it  Mission Successful!

* sorry, not enough pics of the other children. Remember, I was pushing a wheelchair walking stadium laps nearly the whole time!