I am in Grand Rapids – as is the funeral of Betty Ford – but being that I am not invited to the gatherings of First Ladies, I need to find something to do. I will, from this point forward, attempt to document my entire experience.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about – Max is a student at the Conductive Learning Center for a month-long therapeutic program. They call it “camp” and therefore I was able to convince Max that he was leaving the joy and warmth of Camp Yachad for a different “camp” a short 13 hours away. Just between us, this ain’t no camp.
He is in a program with a total of about 3o kids ages 6-19 who all have cerebral palsy. They are divided into 3 three groups, with his being the largest and possibly the coolest. To make it even more strange, 12 or so of the families are staying at the hotel with us making it seem as though every single person in Grand Rapids has a kid with CP. I was about to say that everyone has a kid like Max- but that wouldn’t be true. These kids are all miraculous in different ways, but many are significantly more involved than he is. For the first time in his life, he is one of the most physically able. Even those who are stronger in walking, struggle with something else that Max does not. One might think this fact would make me jump for joy, but instead it is making me feel uncomfortable – in that itchy, indescribable way that lingers without any reprieve.
Max is thrilled to have kids around and is enjoying the freedom that he has without the pressures of keeping up. However, he is choosing the non-disabled siblings (who were likely dragged here against their will) as his preferred choice of playmate. He is stalking another boy in his group who is the most similarly situated to be his targeted BFF, but he seems not entirely sure of what to make of Max’s rapid-fire, NJ brand of conversation and endless pursuit of entertainment.
I don’t know what will come out of this trip – it’s too soon to tell. It has the potential for great success and great failure at the same time. How is that even possible?