I think when you have a child like Jackson you become accustomed to hearing and saying the word “can’t”. I know for myself I have used it a lot when describing him. I will say “Jackson can’t walk, Jackson can’t talk.” It has become a part of my daily vocabulary. But the last couple of weeks have proven to me that while there are some things Jackson can’t do, there are some things I can cross off that “can’t” list. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
When I took the leadership class at the Arc last year part of the program was learning about resources in our community. When the Spokane Parks and Recreation woman came to talk about the Therapeutic Recreation Service for people with disabilities she mentioned adaptive skiing. As soon as I heard about it I had a new goal for Jackson. I grew up skiing the great ski resorts in the mountains of Colorado. In my teen years we only went to school 4 days a week and had Monday’s off. The local resorts would let us ski for free on Monday’s. If you weren’t skiing, you were missing out. I love skiing. When I was pregnant with Jackson and dreaming of all the things I would do with him, skiing was on that list. So when I heard there might be a chance for Jackson to ski, well it was a no-brainer, my kid was doing it. I could hardly wait for this winter to arrive. When I finally got that registration, I cried when I filled it out. Jackson was going to ski! As that first ski day quickly approached I went shopping for ski necessities – gloves, long underwear, fleece pants. I had him all lined out, now the big test – would he like it?
The first day of skiing arrived and it was as if Jackson knew something great was about to happen. He woke up in the best mood. The whole drive up to the mountain he was squealing with delight, laughing, wiggling around in his car seat. He was excited. Despite being in so many layers he could barely sit up, he was all smiles as they put him in the bi-ski. Before I knew it he was on the chair lift heading up the mountain. His instructor said he was a bit nervous on the lift that first time. He was holding his breath and laughing nervously. But after that, nothing but happiness on the chair lift. Watching him come down that mountain for the first time is something I won’t forget. Needless to say both Kevin and I cried. As for Jackson, well I don’t know why I was even worried. He loves the outdoors, he loves cold weather, he loves going fast, and he’s my kid. He absolutely loved it! Not only did he love it but he lasted the full 2 hours! He doesn’t enjoy anything for 2 hours! I was shocked and elated. He again surprised the hell out of me, one of my favorite things about him. Jackson CAN ski!
As if the skiing thing wasn’t enough, the next day my sister took the kids to see the movie Frozen. I knew there was no way he would last through a movie. But I thought it would be a good way to find out how long he would last in a movie. Something I hadn’t wanted to figure out on my own. As I am sure you can guess by now, he made it through the whole movie and was as happy as can be. Proven wrong again by a 5 year old. Jackson CAN go to a movie!
This time I end my post with a quote that fits my beautiful little boy who is continually teaching me life lessons. When I read this quote I imagine the words as Jackson’s own. “I am only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” (Edward Everett Hale)