Our blue-eyed baby boy Harrison, along with his awesome parents, arrived on Tuesday. Mark and I are capable of doing this on our own but it sure is nice to have extra hands to care for me, feed me and give Mark a break. And besides we love having them around.
Today we took a couple of nice walks and Mark, Luz and I watched Kelly, Patti and Harrison swim in the pool. It sure is nice to be able to go outside without a coat on.
Mark and I really enjoyed spending our first week in Florida with Bryan and we were not ready to say goodbye to him on Sunday. We packed a lot in while he was here but the best part was that we got a chance to hang out with some people we love that live in Florida.
The week with Bryan wouldn’t have been possible without the compassionate people at Aerovision, his employer, allowing him to work remotely. It’s wonderful when employers are flexible with their employees.
Thank you, Aerovision.
Before I tell you about our car ride to Florida I need to explain a couple of things leading up to it. Since January I’ve only ridden in our van three times because of the frigid temperatures in Muskegon so we were not able to test our comfortable riding procedures properly. Plus my neck muscles have declined drastically from January to February which makes it difficult to keep me from falling side to side while reclining in the front passenger seat. With that said maybe you can better understand why we were not better prepared for a 23-hour car ride.
On the night we left for Florida Bryan worked all day but suggested we leave that night before I changed my mind again. Earlier that day Kelly bought us a queen-sized, cushy mattress pad with a thick piece of memory foam thinking it may make our ride more comfortable while laying on the floor. So by 8:00pm we were ready to roll. The middle row of seats were taken out of the van, the van was packed and warmed up and we said our goodbyes. Mark picked me up from my wheelchair with Bryan waiting in the van to assist. That part was flawless until they tried lifting me onto the back row of seats where that comfy mattress pad was placed. The temperature in Muskegon that night was zero degrees and when I get cold my teeth chatter uncontrollably and my legs stiffen so when they tried to lay me on the seats my legs wouldn’t bend and that nice thick piece of memory foam took up too much room. Reluctantly we took the memory foam out of the van and left it at home. So there went my comfy padding for the floor and laying on the back seats wasn’t going to work either. My mind drifted back to what Bryan said to Mark and I that morning about finding a solution to all of our obstacles that we may face and if we can’t we will turn back.
As a temporary solution Mark put the pregnancy pillow on the floor and laid me on it and we set off for Florida. For the next hour Mark rearranged the stuff in the van so we could both lay down. The pregnancy pillow turned out to be the best solution of all and that is how I stayed on the whole trip to Florida. Bryan drove all night while Mark took care of me, repositioning me every two hours, and at daylight Mark drove while Bryan took care of me and slept. We made it to our final destination 23 hours after we left home thanks to my awesome helpers and a very comfy pregnancy pillow.
After accepting Jim and LeeAnn’s generous offer of using their Florida condo, we started to plan our trip. We had one major obstacle to overcome which was my comfort for a 23-hour van ride (I sound like such a diva). My neck muscles have gotten weaker so I’m no longer stable in the front seat without some sort of brace. We thought of possible solutions such as flying first class because the seats recline more than coach or renting a motorhome or a handicap van, but nothing seemed to work much better than our minivan. We tried multiple pillow options while sitting in the front seat and the one that gave me the most comfort and neck support was a pregnancy pillow, but sitting with that huge pillow wrapped around me for a 23-hour car ride would not work.
On the day we were going to leave I changed my mind because we hadn’t found a good seating solution, plus my legs aren’t much help anymore which presents a whole new set of problems so I told Mark we should cancel our trip. It’s funny because Mark is usually the cautious one but this time it was me. Mark called Bryan first to break the news because he was our co-pilot on the trip. Bryan seemed to take the news just fine. Mark then called Kelly and LeeAnn who sounded disappointed but understood. About thirty minutes later Kelly came over to see why I changed my mind and right away she pointed out the positive reasons why we should go on this trip. She left and minutes later Bryan called with lots of passion in his voice reciting all of the positives of this trip but then he said something really important that helped me change my mind. Bryan said, “I’m confident we can find a solution to every obstacle we face on this trip. Dad and I are willing to dedicate our whole trip to trying to make you comfortable and if we can’t, we’ll turn back and go home.” Bryan was right. There usually is a solution to most of our problems if we are willing to open our minds and get creative. How could I say no to Bryan’s pep talk? He was right so I decided to go.
Back in January our friends Jim and LeeAnn White asked us if we would like to use their condo in Florida in March. This unbelievable offer was so sincere that we thought we would like to talk with them face-to-face about it so we invited them over. Every time we thanked them they said, “Please don’t thank us. It’s not necessary.” They made us feel like family. They said that they love us and it would please them very much if we would accept their gift. When they left that evening they gave Mark the key and told us to go make some wonderful family memories. God bless you, Jim and LeeAnn. We will never forget this.