Going on a vacation with small children takes a lot of planning, flexibility and patience. Travel is something that I see as a requirement for life. The world becomes a little bit smaller with each passing mile. New people and new places show you that we are all the same when it comes down to it.
Our family jumped into our new van and took a quick road trip to St. Louis for a Father’s Day getaway. After reading a hand full of blogs about ‘Family Friendly’ activities in STL, I stumbled across the City Museum. This old factory had been transformed into a giant playplace complete with a 6 story slide and plenty of tunnels to crawl through. My first thought was that Liam would never be able to physically handle this place. My second thought was, what if this was the summer to do it. His last chance. Take him now before it is too late.
We changed gears and decided to stick to the basic kid friendly places such as the Science Museum, The Magic House and The Arch (with a brewery thrown in the mix for Mom and Dad!)
The Arch- The Gateway to the West. Every Midwest family should take a trip here, right? It’s a wonderful experience with the thrill of packing our family into a tiny egg to sway and clank your way to the top of this gently swaying architectural beauty. It’s not available to everyone though. The website stated “not wheelchair accessible”. Welp, this is our year. If Liam will ever have the experience of this simple, but delightful experience, we better do it now. I was so thrilled that the good people working at the Arch went above and beyond to minimize the steps Liam would need to tackle. I need my boy to see the good in people, and we made sure to point out the kindness and care these employees put into making his day a little easier.
Everywhere we went in this modest city we were greeted by kindness, and compassion. People spoke directly to our children with stunning eye contact while they held doors wide open and moved chairs out of the way. They smiled extra wide when they saw Liam in his chair. I’ve always thought myself to be pretty accurate when reading body language. The most common thing that I see now, with my sweet boy rolling next to me, is discomfort. People want to show that they are accepting, and understanding but don’t know how to do it. Sometimes they over do it, but I’ll take that attitude any day over the ugly stuff.
Raising a child with a degenerative disease means performing a very delicate balancing act. Wait to long, you miss out. Act now, and push things and it makes the disease worse. In my mind I’ve flirting with going into extreme debt and taking Liam around the world now. Taking him to Rome and carrying him over the bumpy streets, flying anywhere with only his zippy light weight chair to navigate instead of his heavy, wide and bulky power chair. Taking him on a hike through the Amazon rainforest with his tiny body resting on my back. I’m strong enough now, but he’s only getting heavier. I can’t do it forever.
St. Louis was perfect for our family. Two days, a welcoming community and a new van to get us around. It was a wonderful mini vacation and I’m so glad we went.