This year for our family vacation we took Paul with us. It worked out pretty well, though it wasn’t simple. And we experienced some benefits, like being able to enter any National Park for free and using our handicapped parking sign in a tourist town at the height of tourist season!
But yesterday we had another family outing and didn’t include him. The Great Minnesota Get-Together started on Thursday and my other three children were excited about going (and my daughter won two tickets from the local library). Dianne and I talked about one last family outing before school, but ultimately decided it would be better if Paul stayed home with Dianne.
All the same issues came up for me as they have in the past about what it means to be a family with one member who lives with multiple disabilities. It isn’t debilitating, especially since it was only for part of a day, but these moments still make me pause to pray for wisdom and then peace about what I’ve decided.
As it turned out, it was a good decision. We hadn’t been to the State Fair for three or four years and I had forgotten how loud the music is, how hot it can get, and how chaotic the streets are. My middle son commented as we left, “Paul would have hated this!” And my other children loved being able to move freely and quickly; something that isn’t really possible when Paul is with us.
We’ve been at this for a while; for my other children, their entire lives. So far, my fears that they would prefer he not be around for family activities haven’t proven true.
But I still pray for God’s help in making decisions like this (as small as it may seem) and for God to protect their hearts about their brother’s standing in our family and his worth to the world.