Saturday, October 18, 2008


One of the good things about hanging out with younger friends is you get to go to pumpkin patches with the kids. Jill invited me to join her and her father, Larry, to take the kids Sam (4) and Natalie (6) to Remlinger Farms Pumpkin Patch. We were a little skeptical: $15 each entrance (even the kids) and Natalie wouldn't even be able to go on most of the rides. She's got CP and is stuck in a wheelchair. But the sun was out and the fall colors were wonderful. We met up with Jill's sister and her family, and a cousin and her two girls. I got to take Natalie around much of the time while Jill could accompany Sam on horseriding, rides and such. It broke my heart that Natalie could only watch from the sidelines. She has a very expressive face. Watching her brother swing around on the merry-go-round brought out a lower lip, trembling, close to tears. But then we figured out that the small train had accommodations for the wheel chair and so Natalie was able to do that. We were able to cut to the front of the line (the only advantage I saw to having a wheelchair at that place). To see Natalie's joy on the ride was worth every cent of the entry fee. When my son Andy was an infant, he'd do what we called a "full body grin" where his smile and joy was so big it took over his body. Natalie was definately in full body grin form. I think it was special for her too because Sam wasn't able to be on that ride was like she was doing something he couldn't which I don't think happens very much in Natlie's life. Later on Natalie's grandpa got her out of the chair and was able to hold her on the flying pumpking ride (like the cup and saucer ride in Disney Land, only much smaller). Anybody who is feeling sorry for themself needs to see how much joy that little ride put on Natalie's face. I felt as if I was witnessing something very special. I looked around the crowd and there were a few people wiping tears from their face as they saw Natalie. Pushing Natalie around that place, that was so not wheelchair friendly, I got a little taste of what it must be for Jill to be in a place such as that. Very difficult to get Natalie around, having to experience her dissapointment in the midst of Sam's uncopromised mobility, the looks of the families that passed by. Natalie is stunningly beautiful and at the same time, so damaged. She's brilliant and expressive. I know that she really brought a moment of pause to so many parents there, reminding them of how fortunate they are to have healthy, mobile kids, for there, but for the Grace of God, are we all. This was a blessed day in so many ways.

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