July 24, 2014

Oh Yes, You Will!

If Bridger was an only child, we would probably let him bask in the safety of his wheelchair and remain in the comfort of home.  We would let him live his life a little more protected, a little less exciting - because, frankly, the pursuit of excitement is exhausting with him and he is generally content with his home turf.

But because we have four other children that need stimulation, that need adventure, that need a childhood. . . Bridger gets pushed beyond his special bubble and into adventures that would otherwise be considered unthinkable for a child like him.

Even Bridger thinks many of those adventures are unthinkable and, consequently, protests every step of the way.  He lets us know in no uncertain terms that he does NOT want to do whatever the activity is.

My answer, "Oh yes, you will!"

Small Print: The only regret I have ever had in forcing my will on him was when I took him on the Tower of Terror as a 2 year old because the ride attendant said it was just like a bouncing trampoline ride.  Ummm, no, it wasn't.  Left that with the "Horrible Mom" stamp on my forehead.  Yeah, we can forget about that one now.

We just had another such protest from Bridger.  Our vacation trail took us to Park City to ride the Alpine Coaster down the mountain.  The sun was extremely piercing and the line was long.  We hiked up the mountain to ask if there was some shade we could place Bridger in as the rest of us waited in line for our turn so he wouldn't seize in this intense sun. The gum chomping coaster attendant said a curt, "No."  I stared at her, then stared at the shade of the building on the other side of the rope right behind her.  Hmm.  I believe that if I was someplace else, any non-gum smacking Joe Schmo would have heard 'seizure' and 'shade please' in the same sentence and been a little more accommodating.  But. . . it was not to be, so Jordain walked with Bridger all the way down the mountain and had someone help her carry him in his chair over the impassable terrain of rocks to obtain a spot of shade.  She stayed there with him while the others and I waited in line for an hour and then she pushed him and his heavy chair back up the steep trail when it was our turn to ride.  I was so glad I had her or else we would have had to leave.

The entire time waiting, and during both times wheeling up and down the mountain, plus the whole time he was watching his siblings load up and right up until the very moment I placed his little bum on that toboggan with me, he was emphatically saying, "I NO go on da swide!"

I pushed him past that moment and told him how it is going to be [my way].  Then came the moment that happens EVERY time -- the moment he realizes that he is having a whole heap of fun.

Our little sled was pulled on the track up the mountain - which Bridger thought was the thrill of the ride and was singing "weeeeee" all the way up.  When we reached the summit, the toboggan was released and we went flying, and I mean fffflyING, all the way down.  As we approached the 30+mph mark, there was a flash from my ultra-cautious, hyper-controlling self which wasn't sure of the appropriateness of this adventure for Bridger, but his excited screams at the top of his lungs of words I couldn't make out was evidence to the contrary.  He was having the time of his life.  He was living an adventure that many like him never get to.  

Many people comment as to how challenging it must be to have 5 children when one of them has significant disabilities.  You're not kidding.  There is not an adjective to describe the magnitude of the challenge.  Many people also comment as to the incredible affect that Bridger has on the life of the others.  Yes, indeedy.  He has molded them into them most incredible people already.  But, what needs to be pointed out and what I want to pay tribute to is the amazing life that they have given Bridger. Because of them, he is having adventures and experiences that he would not have otherwise had.  Because of their need to live, he is living too.

Don't you think his face is telling you just that?