We recently have traveled with Parker and it is always interesting. I was going to say difficult, but, it sounds like I am complaining about him and I am not. He is a lot of fun and really is an easy child to get along with. It is just so much work that I have to ask myself if the trip is really worth all that work. I usually just suck it up and do it even if I don’t necessarily think the fun is worth the work. Someone without a special needs child might not understand what I mean by “work”. Let me explain myself. Packing usually takes me a good 2 days. When I finish the job, Lee and I together have less than ½ the luggage that Parker has. When you are flying, that is always a real problem as we end up paying for the luggage we bring. On our last trip this year, we sent ahead quite a bit of Parker’s supplies, diapers, pull ups, liners, Pediasure, his air mattress we carry to use with his bed tent, and some clothing pieces. That saved us quite a bit in fees and most of it was consumed over the week long trip.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a way to fly straight through to our destination, so we had 2 planes each way. When you have a special needs child that has a wheelchair, boarding and getting off the plane is always a giant pain. We are always strapped down to the maximum with carry on baggage and just getting through security is exhausting. I won’t spend time on security as that could be a whole other post; but, suffice it to say we take 3 to 4 times the amount of time that others take. We must look like clowns walking through the airports with all our stuff strapped to the chair and hanging on our persons. When we get to the door of the plane we have to get Parker out of the chair and walk him in and still manage all the stuff. We do hand off the chair and the adaptive car seat, but, then we attempt to walk through the narrow aisles without taking out each passenger on our way down to our seats. If it weren’t so stressful, it would be hysterical. Getting off is not any easier. We always wait to get off last as Parker will not stand to wait in the line getting off. He will collapse if we stop walking so we wait and we wait. Sometimes his chair is already waiting, but, usually we wait for the chair and the car seat.
Then, we usually have a very long distance to get to our next plane and that is always fun! Once again, our comedy act is underway entertaining the airport masses. This is where our flight leaves without us or we find ourselves without time to use the bathrooms and we have to take Parker to the plane bathroom. All I can say about that experience is it is so small in there that when he threw himself backwards, he couldn’t fall down. Who knows, maybe someday he will have a desire to use the bathroom and at least I will get some cooperation. One can only hope!!
Now we need to at least touch on keeping him entertained, an absolute must. We carried a portable DVD player, I pad and toys, lots of toys, yet another carry on bag. Each time we take off and land, all of these must be turned off. We carried books for these times. Parker was not amused and neither were we. We somehow made it each time, but, we were exhausted after each of these traveling experiences. Our trips were a lot of fun, but, I am okay without boarding a plane for awhile. My prayer for the next trip is 1 plane each way!