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It’s such an exciting time. Our youngest child, Matt is getting married. Matthew moved to Missouri when his brother Mike, was stationed there while serving in the US Air Force. What I thought was a short term visit, turned into a permanent move. He met Samantha shortly after and now here we are sitting in the airport two years later on our way to their wedding.
Traveling with disabilities is always an experience to remember. From the moment we left the house, we knew that there would never be a dull moment on this much anticipated trip. As Mike Sr and I were boarding the shuttle, the driver took one look at me and said Wow! How do you eat? She had decided to forego any typical greeting and instead opted for exasperated shock.
I don’t ever use a wheelchair unless we’re at the annual fair. So that means as we were going through security I received the very personal pat down. They didn’t know what to do with me. One look at my lack of appendages and it was clear that they had not dealt with this sort of situation before. They definitely adopted the theory it’s better to be safe than sorry. After a couple minutes of thorough investigation we all could move on with relative certainty that I was not the suspicious smuggler of contraband that they may have suspected.
One of the great benefits of being handicapped is I get to pre-board at the airport. I get extremely claustrophobic if I have to sit at the back of the plane, so my favorite place to sit is in the front rows. Thankfully, we were in the front on both flights to and from the wedding and I had the window seat. I swear, this blog is making me think crazy thoughts. As I peered out of the window I found myself thinking that I could probably jump from here. Not in a suicidal sense but as a thrilling way of expanding my horizons and trying new things. This is coming from someone who always said I believe I’d have a heart attack if I ever tried skydiving. Who knows! Stay tuned.
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott. What a beautiful place. The beds were soft and the pillows were awesome. That never happens. Most of all, this particular Fairfield Inn in Warrensburg, Missouri had the friendliest and most helpful people we’ve ever met. One of the reasons I like the Fairfield is because they have a swimming pool lift that enables me to get into the pool. I rarely get to go swimming, mainly because it’s so hard for me to get out of the pool. With this chair I was able to be lifted from the water to get back into my legs in no time. What a blessing this invention was to me that day. My attempt to swim however, is a totally different situation. First of all, this pool is a salt water pool which makes my chubby body even more buoyant than it normally is. So I started with the lift, with my legs off, I was slowly lowered into the pool. I was so excited to swim. My plan was to jump off the chair and just swim once I got lowered into the water. Ready, set, jump! As soon as I was free in the water, my legs flew to the surface of the water throwing my upper body backwards and somehow flipping me over so I was face down. My short little arms did nothing to help me flip over. As I was using my legs to try to kick, I got this horrendous cramp in the back of my thigh. The kids were there and grabbed me, but I kept insisting that I try over and over. I knew I could swim. Guess what. I could not. So Matt began carrying me around in the pool like a baby. Megan then said, “get on my back like Luke and Yoda going through the swamp in Star Wars”. (See video.) I thought once we were in deeper water something more promising would take place. It did not. I have decided that for future swimming adventures I was going to need a life vest. Oh well!
Later on in the trip, a guy approached us in Hardees to tell me I was his hero. He said he had 5 types of cancer but he was in awe of me. I was definitely touched by the kind sincerity of the man and I wished him well in his struggle. After all, I had faced and beaten cancer once before and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that with God’s help he could too. This leads me to my next point. I’ve come to the realization that based on my limited view of a small section of the Midwest, the people of the region are simply nicer and more hospitable. Everyone we ran into seemed to lack the certain cold disdain and distance of your typical New Englander. Don’t get me wrong, I love this region of the country and the people in it, however the attitudes of those we met in Missouri simply seemed more welcoming and more friendly.
Stayed tuned for my next post where I share the beautiful wedding that this trip was leading up to.