With the onset of spring in Arkansas, we have begun our habit of small road trips to take in The Natural State. Now, Brian and I are not rugged, outdoorsy, hiker types by any stretch of the imagination, but we do enjoy a stroll through nature every once in a while. (After all, we met in the most happenin' "natural" place in North America: Yellowstone National Park!)
When Clayton was little, the fact that he wasn't ambulatory never even crossed our minds. We (and when I say "we" I mean Brian mostly) usually just carried him on a trail or wherever the rugged terrain took us. But as he has grown, it has simply become impossible for us to carry him for any distance. Which is frustrating because also as he has grown older, we want him to see more and more of the outdoors!
In the couple of years before Jackson was born, we kept our road trips to just that: on the road. We all just looked out from the car and the scenery was kept at that. But now that Jackson is a part of our family, the whole dynamic has changed. Jackson wants to be outdoors and he wants to explore!
On a recent trip to a state park, Jackson was raring to go, but there was absolutely no way to get Clayton through the pathways the park had created. We saw family after family taking off down the trail, enjoying a walk through nature. And yes, I was jealous. These are the activities I want to do with my children! (How many times have I seen a suggested activity on a school lesson include a "nature walk??")
So far I've only been able to locate two parks in our state with wheelchair friendly trails. I so wish this number were greater! (And I'm not wishing for a paved trail, just some packed gravel would be sufficient!) But until we dig up more options, I've decided we'll have to hold onto two rays of hope: 1) his power chair (when we get it) will be equipped to tackle much more than his manual chair 2) I've noticed several parks offer horseback riding on the trails, which is doable if Clayton improves his endurance on a horse. I'm so banking on this second one as that brainstorm came to me after following a link about our state parks that a friend sent me.
As I proofread this I'm wondering why I'm even whining about such a thing?! I saw a child at clinic today who had no clue of his surroundings. Be thankful, self! Be thankful your child can take in his world and accept God's beauty around him!
**After chastising myself for complaining, I decided to go ahead and include my original post because it is a perfect example of how a special needs parent digests the realities, and often limits, for their child. Yet perspective kicks in and you remember to thank Him daily for the gifts that have been given . . .