IMG_0863So I guess I got comfy.  Dane was 3, then 4, then 5… wow – now 6!  He grew, and he grew, and he grew.  Pound after pound, inch after inch, he had suddenly become this hulking, lanky mass of childhood, teetering precariously at becoming half my size.

But I still saw him for the little guy born to me, the wee person in the adaptive therapy seat, always awkwardly bulky, but somehow magically lifted from one spot to the next.

Well, to be honest, Dane outgrew his adaptive ‘stroller’, probably over a year ago.  He had been turned down for an electric wheelchair years earlier so we did what any ‘grin and bear it’ family would do.  We made the best of what we were given.

I’m sure, in the past; snickers followed many of the smiles we were thrown.  Why would such a grown boy be pushed around in such an enormous stroller?  I might have questioned it too before I had Dane.

But time was up.   Dane’s physical therapist sent home a wheelchair, an honest to goodness wheelchair, for Dane to get used to while we went through the process of getting him an electric wheelchair, at long last.

We acclimated, immediately, as we always do.  It was a bit wider, A TON heavier, not foldable, easily movable or possible to casually throw in the trunk of the car.  Dane was sitting up higher, straighter, and more confidently.  He was positioned to be at the height of the cafeteria table, the restaurant table, and fast food counter tops.

So off we went to New York City.  What the heck, right?  We had a handicap accessible van, waiting, for just this day.  We valet parked at our hotel, backed Dane out of the van (after the strap downs got jammed, TWICE) and rolled into our posh Manhattan hotel lobby.

The bellhop was wonderful.  He even suggested we tell the front desk that we needed a handicap accessible shower (for a bigger room as well).  But knowing, full well, the chances of actually bathing Dane in the tub over the next two days were slim; we knew that would have been a selfish request.

The room was small, VERY SMALL.  The bellhop had to remove a chair in the room just to maneuver Dane’s wheelchair inside.  No biggie.  We just moved the chair again and again as we came and went over the next couple of days.

I had to leap over the bed just to get around Dane’s wheelchair and occasionally took an extra leap, just for fun, as I ‘Dukes of Hazard’ly spun across the mattress.

So off we went to hit the streets of NYC.

My baby boy is gorgeous, but I had never seen such a blatant display of staring – ever.  I was overwhelmed by the looks.  Pity, indifference, curiosity, reverence, the occasional smile, but this felt weird: different, unnerving.

Jay took the helm and was forced to maneuver Dane to the edge of the sidewalks where the handicap accessibility was most accommodating.  The crowds didn’t care, didn’t move, didn’t look.  They walk. They just walk, like cattle.  They walk because they are used to an environment where it feels hurried and purposeful, a place taken by people competing to make it across first, and the fastest.

We went to a ‘faire’.  Yes, it was crowded, crowded beyond my wildest nightmares.  My heart skipped a beat as I pushed Dane through the mob, seeking the closest view to the most sought after speakers.  My breath quickened as I tried to push Dane through the scattered stones strewn carelessly over the cords and wires that pumped electricity to the gyro stand nearby.  Dane’s tires jammed, twisted and barely made it over the ‘ramp’ put down to satisfy some archaic handicap accessibility law.

I watched as a woman smacked her child’s hand for having stared at Dane just a bit too long…

People callously cut in front of Dane as we tried desperately to push him close enough to see the life sized ‘Rock em’ Sock em’ Robots’.  Several expletives left my mouth that day.  I know, I should be better than that, but a mom has her breaking point and, come on, I’ve never been much of an ‘inside voice’ type of gal.

All in all, we left the fair early; we stayed in the city for only two days.  My husband knew better than to save some money going the ‘planes, trains, and automobiles’ route and instead, footed the bill for valet (thank you doll face!).

We’re still learning.  We know that everyone else is too.  Not every day is full of the easy way out.  This trip was exhausting and exhilarating.  Exhilarating because we enjoyed it.  Regardless of the obstacles, the inconvenience, the ignorance, we truly enjoyed it.

I couldn’t be more proud of my sons and my family for seeing the sights more than the insurmountable.  Because, no matter what the journey, my family, by far, is the most impressive sight to see.