Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Flying Sisters!

They were sitting together in the front room and guessing.

Ruby and Sadie both knew that our big birthday gift was an activity, not a wrapped present, but we had not told them what it was. They knew we were leaving to go to wherever we were going in about an hour and were now putting their heads together to try and figure out the destination. I was at the computer, checking on the address for iFly Toronto, which was where we were going, and listening to their wild guesses.

"The CN Tower."

"The swimming pool."

"Hot Air Balloon."

"Swimming with the Dolphins."

Then something kind of wonderful happened. Ruby said to Sadie, "I think we're going horseback riding." Sadie got all excited and said, "I love horseback riding," then she paused and said, "But how will Dave go horseback riding?" Ruby said, "We have to figure out how to make horseback riding accessible for him."

The ideas flowed. "Build a ramp up to the horse's back." "Get a strong horse with a big back and then Dave can ride on it like they do on elephants." "Put in a little elevator so he can get up to the horse." "Have a horse trained to lie down so he can get on it then." Their ideas continued, half joking, half serious.

It felt wonderful that they were thinking like this, that they automatically assumed that I would be fully part of the activity and that anything could be made accessible if only it was thought about.

Suddenly it was time to go, they still didn't know where they were going. They still didn't know that soon they'd be flying. After their conversation though, they could not possibly fly higher in my heart.


Anonymous said...

children, they think and love unconditional...


Colleen said...

Thanks for the huge smile you just put on my face, Dave. These girls are so beautiful! And this is as it should be. Now how do we get everyone thinking like this?

Rachel in Idaho said...

Oh my, that looks like SO MUCH FUN! And what smart, sweet girls they are. I wish I could have seen them fly.

CapriUni said...

This is an aside to this post, but horse riding for the physically and intellectually disabled does exist -- it started Britain in the 1930's to provide physical therapy to polio patients, and has had a formal, parent organization offering training and accreditation in North America since 1969. Here's that parent organization's homepage:

(And yes, there are mounting ramps that allow a rider to wheel up to the same level as the horse's back, and transfer from the chair to the saddle).

Andrea S. said...

From looking at their website, I gather they try to be inclusive of people with mobility disabilities and people who weigh more than 230 pounds. Is it okay if I ask, Did you participate in the flying also? Do you feel they were inclusive of you?

They don't seem to be sensitized (YET) to inclusion for deaf or hard of hearing people, since there is no mention of communication access during training, and the captions on their video were only there for part of the video and then vanished. But it does look from the web site that they're trying, for at least some disability populations..

Anonymous said...

Aww! What a great story! I hope you guys had fun at the flying place. Also, I have to say it made me grin to think about installing a horse elevator (having been around horses and taken riding lessons, I just had to picture the expression on the horse's face at being asked to just hang out near an elevator...) LOL


Kristine said...

Aww, I love this!! I know, kids can be cruel, kids can be thoughtless... but kids can also be sooooooo much better at inclusion than adults! I find adults much quicker to shrug and say, "Sorry, wish you could..." while kids will put on their thinking caps and say, "I'll figure out a way you can..."

And the flying activity looks like SO MUCH FUN!

Anonymous said...

Every time I read the accounts of the things you do with the girls, I admit, I get jealous. I surely wish I could have had 2 uncles like you and Joe. Certainly would have had a different childhood. The pocketful of memories those sweet girls will have are priceless. The attitudes witness and learned will be so valuable as they navigate their lives and interact with people. Kudos to you and Joe. (You can now tuck the horseback riding idea in your back pocket for the future!!!)

FunMumX3 said...

I like the positive can do statement on the website. Andrea (commenter above) I get your comments as well. But I love to hear such positive statements as:

If you have a disability, there is a good chance that you can fly.
It is almost always possible for a person with a physical disability to fly. We only ask that you contact us in advance so that our team can have a better understanding of your disability and explain the process to you. You may be asked to come in to meet with one of our qualified instructors before confirming your reservation, so that the instructor can do an evaluation and explain the more personalized details of the activity. We cannot guarantee that everyone will be able to fly, but we will do everything we can to help you to experience this unforgettable adventure. To give you an idea of what we were able to accomplish over the years, have a look at this amazing video.

Cynthia said...

I always love the stories about your girls. The love flies around and shines through your words on the screen.