Saturday, June 15, 2013

Family Vacation

I knew this would happen. Ever since Rob's parents told us about their plans to fly from Toronto to Winnipeg, we looked so forward to driving there to meet them. And now, after spending five days in Canada, the fun is over much too soon.
Faith gets ready for our drive to Canada
Rob, Faith and I made the 420-mile drive on Monday and Jean and David arrived by plane on Tuesday morning. When we told people we were driving to Winnipeg, they said, "That's kind of a long drive." But after driving over 1,300 miles all the way to Toronto in October 2011, this drive was going to be a breeze! And it was. Faith once again proved to be a great little traveler and was content to listen to her music CDs the whole way.

Of course we didn't make it in 6 hours and 20 minutes like Mapquest said we would. With stops to eat, gas up, get Faith changed and get her feedings started, it took us more like 8 1/2 hours. Practically the whole way there, Faith asked, "Are we in Winnipeg yet?" "Where's our hotel?" She was especially anxious to get to our hotel to go swimming.
We found out the wading pool was actually perfect for us!
It was so wonderful being reunited with David and Jean. It had been nearly two years since we last saw them. On Tuesday afternoon, we did what we promised Faith - we took her down to the pool to go swimming. She seemed to think that after seeing her grandparents and going swimming, our vacation was over and it was time to go home.

The next couple of days were a little rough for her and she ended up getting constipated. On Wednesday, she was not her normal cheery self and was really missing home. Thankfully though, after getting a lot of water and miralax in her system through her feeding tube, she was able to "get the lead out." She felt much better after that and was up for a trip to the zoo the next day. The highlight of the zoo was seeing the polar bear, Hudson who actually came to Winnipeg from Toronto.
All five of us at the Assiniboine Park Zoo
Hudson the polar bear
For the most part, we didn't do a lot of sight-seeing or going places - except for Rob who made three or four trips a day to Tim Hortons (every Canadian's favorite coffee shop). But we did have some quality visiting time. Rob had fun watching the first hockey game of the Stanley Cup Finals with his parents. Faith was not into the hockey game so I kept her entertained in our adjoining room. The game went into three overtimes and lasted until midnight - needless to say it was a late night for everyone.
The Bousfields enjoying the Stanley Cup Finals together
Me and Faith hanging out together in our room (ignore date stamp)
There were lots of tears when it was time to say goodbye. None of know for sure the next time we will see one another. Hopefully it won't be nearly two years again! It is hard that Rob's parents live so far away but they are grateful for all the services and quality of care their granddaughter gets here in Bismarck.
Faith gave her grandparents a lot of laughs!

Preparing to leave Winnipeg
Our drive back was pretty uneventful. We stopped in Fargo to eat and do a little bit of shopping. Faith's new favorite is Sid the Science Kid and we found a DVD at Toys R Us. Faith couldn't wait to get home. We finally arrived in Bismarck and when we turned onto Century, I looked back at her and she was just looking out the window with a big smile on her face.

Last night, as I went to sleep in my own bed, I couldn't help but thank the Lord for the good driving conditions, the great weather, our van running without any problems, our safety and for everything working out so well. It was a wonderful family vacation and as my husband keeps saying, "it was the perfect tip."
No place like home!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Full of Life

Not too long ago, someone at church commented to me, "Your daughter is so full of life." I have heard lots of positive comments about Faith throughout the years, but this one brought tears to my eyes. To think that my daughter - a nine-year-old girl bound to a wheelchair was full of life - meant the world to me.

Faith's disability causes her to be different from her peers and others around her. She understands this and although she can get frustrated, she doesn't let it get her down. She has a very positive attitude about life. I give a lot of the credit to those who pray without ceasing for her and to Jesus who helps her on her journey each and every day. I truly praise God that someone who sees my daughter sees that she has a joyful life despite her special needs.
Full of joy
I know too well this isn't always the case. Usually, when someone pictures in their mind a nine-year-old who needs to use a wheelchair for mobility, gets her nutrition from a feeding tube, doesn't know how to read and still wears diapers, they would most likely classify that as having a "poor quality of life."

Unfortunately, this is exactly how our culture describes those who do not seem to contribute anything to society. This is where eugenicists have a hay day. And this is precisely why babies in the womb with known abnormalities are aborted.

I'm thankful there are those who see Faith in a different light. It seems wherever we go, we always find someone with whom to interact. Last weekend it was the mom of a little 14-month old boy who seemed very interested in Faith while waiting in the check-out line. Today at Target as Faith and I walked down an aisle, a lady asked me how old she was. Faith was the one who responded, "Nine!" She then told Faith she was just beautiful. Friends of mine who know Faith well tell me they don't see Faith as someone with a disability, instead they see someone with lots of ability.

I'm curious. How do you view a child when you see him or her in a wheelchair? Do you wonder what happened to cause them to be that way? Do you feel sorry for the child. If so, I know those feelings are automatic. I was the same way before I had Faith. I was even uncomfortable around people with disabilities.

I know it may be normal to automatically think the child must have a poor quality of life. But  please, I'm asking you to try not to make those assumptions. Instead, maybe try to engage with the parent of the child with obvious special needs. There is fear in the unknown but once you know more and gain understanding, I bet you will no longer have such assumptions. And I can assure you, that the parent of the child you just interacted with will be glad you did.  
Faith scooting through the tunnel