Last year my sister in law turned 40 and we had a weekend away , as an extended family , planned. Of course it had to be postponed and this coming weekend , we are meeting up to celebrate her 41st birthday. So today we will put the dogs in kennels and make the two and half hour drive to the venue, laden down with food, clothes, games and Joshua’s off-road wheelchair .
There are 13 of us going in total and so, this will be the longest that we have been with that many people indoors for years. We were with the same family on Boxing day but that was just for lunch, with no overnight stays. I expect Joshua to enjoy the company and the hustle and bustle of that number of familiar people. He will be limited however by how much he can join in. There is a hot tub at the accommodation and if he can access it, he will enjoy sitting in the bubbles for a short while, so long as it is not too hot. If he gets too hot, that can be a seizure trigger so its a fine balance between getting too cold – we will be outside in February after all – and not getting too hot. The current plan is board games on Friday night, he will not be able to play but fortunately, he is a great observer and he will enjoy the noise. There is a risk however that, after a while, he will get bored just watching and then he will demand some one to one attention and will drag me or my husband away.
With that many people and such a wide age range – from 8 years old up to 85 – it is challenging to find activities that everyone will enjoy and can access. Joshua is an additional complication due to his disabilities, so one of the proposed activities of caving was a non-starter for us, and for Nanna too. Tickets have been booked to go to a wildlife centre on Saturday, which promises to be wheelchair, and mobility scooter, friendly and hopefully not too cold.
The main part of the trip that gives us anxiety, is the fact that Joshua’s bedroom will be on the first floor as his Nanna has greater need of the only ground floor room. We do not know what the staircase will be like, but the website photographs show other cabins with modern, open stairs which are problematic for him. He will need to be supervised and assisted on the staircase, so he will not be able to come and go freely from his bedroom, as he does at home. We tend to remove his bulky splints and NHS boots while he is at home, but wooden stairs could be slippery in just his socks.
This will be a good opportunity to spend some prolonged time with the wider family who we have not seen for some time. It will also give them an opportunity to spend some prolonged time with Joshua and to gain more of an insight into what it is like to be with him for 48 hours.