We have arrived in the Smoky Mountains and the views are breathtaking. Traveling Saturday to Tuesday via an RV for the first time was pretty eventful. Nevertheless, I think the kids enjoyed it. Actually, my 2 year old asked this morning if she can get back on the bus (RV). Initially, the thought of traveling in an RV seemed like a bit of a stretch because we have a kid that is wheelchair bound but for me, that was a good reason to get it done. Here is what traveling long distances with a kid in a wheelchair has taught me over the years.
Be Patient - On an average, its guaranteed that our son will have an episode of some sort at least once while we are traveling. You have to have a great deal of patience because when this happens, you have to have a malleable. You will be pushed to the limits but you can’t break because there is a kid that needs your strength. Be patient and work to get things done.
Be Prepared - Make sure you plan for going places that are accessible. This means you must plan before your arrival. When we are traveling we have a system where, my husband sits outside the establishment and I go inside and scope the scene. I check for the width of the place, ask if they can accommodate a wheelchair and I also look elevator or ramps access (if the place calls for it). I also call restaurants ahead of time if I know its a place we want to experience. Letting an establish know you are arriving is a gesture they appreciate. This way they can plan for your arrival.
Ignore - You will get stared at, you will get looked at, other kids will point and the truth is, it's something that comes with the territory. Sometimes in difficult moments it can be daunting however, majority of the time it's easy for me to ignore. If we don’t ignore the distractions, they knock us off our rhythm and make us feel defeated.
Get Excited - When you are excited and have a positive attitude, it boosts the morale of the child. We don’t allow the wheelchair to be a complete bottleneck in our plans we just go for it.
Perspective with parenting is everything. All things will not be perfect however, if you change your mindset you have more control over your journey. Having a child with severe disabilities is not easy but it's important for other families to know that you can do it. Don’t allow those disabilities to outshine so many possibilities.