One of the highlights of our trip to southern California was our trip to LEGOLAND. Apollo is a huge LEGO fan and this was our one “splurge” on the trip (helped along with the two free child’s tickets I got from our LEGO magazines!) An awesome day at an awesome place turned out to be an eye-opening experience for me.
A trip plane trip to California with typical 2, 3 and 4 year olds and two moms would be tiring no matter what. Add into this scenario the fact that two of the kids were medically needy and you have the recipe for some awkward, difficult situations. One boy might have vomited during a movie. And one boy might have pulled down his pants in the middle of the LEGOLAND sidewalk to pee. But I’ll never tell.
Jude was born with Spina bifida. Apollo has a heart defect and respiratory issues that tire him. I pump food into Apollo’s stomach and Sarah has to pump waste out of Jude. Oh yes, they make made quite the pair. Due to Jude’s spina bifida, he can’t walk very far on his own. He either uses a walker or is pushed in his stroller. Jude’s parents have a handicapped sign because of his disabilities and this also qualified him for a disabled pass at Legoland. When Sarah filled out the paperwork for it, the pass was written for all five of us. Essentially, this meant Jude (and the rest of us) didn’t need to wait in line for the rides. I was a little uncomfortable with this in the beginning. Afterall, Apollo doesn’t have a disabled pass…we didn’t need to skip the lines…Our first ride in I suddenly understood why we were all on the pass. There is no way Sarah could have navigated rides for her son (and daughter Izzy) without my extra set of hands.
So what exactly did I do? I held Izzy while Sarah and Jude went on rides. I watched Jude as Sarah and Izzy went on rides. I carried Jude at times and took him on rides. I watched Izzy as Sarah and Jude sought out special protection for his leg braces so he could play in the water. I caught Jude as he came down the water slide, since Sarah had to be on the top to help him go down. In short, I was an extra set of hands. I did nothing special, but was absolutely necessary so Jude could enjoy his time at LEGOLAND. Traveling with a disabled child is unbelievably labor intensive. I’ve known Sarah for years. I’ve known Jude for years, but watching for her care for him 24 hours a day gave me a whole new level of respect fo her.
So why am I posting all of this here? Just to let you know how very important passes like this are to families with disabilities. There is NO WAY Sarah could have navigated the winding lines with: Jude’s walker, Jude’s stroller, or lugging the 50 pound boy. This is the only way Jude could enjoy the park. This all came to mind as I remembered the new policy Disneyland is going to institute. Due to abuse, they will no longer be giving out disabled access passes. It absolutely blows my mind that people would do something like this.
Despite our difficulties and potty-issues had a simply wonderful time.