Still Steep, Still Climbing
Birthdays are supposed to be celebrated, but they often come with mixed emotional baggage. People are sometimes jolted by reaching a new decade, reminded that time is passing quickly.
Children’s birthdays are typically happy affairs, as family members remember the joy of being blessed with a precious family member.
For special needs parents, though, birthdays can be a harsh reminder of how far our children haven’t developed, how many milestones they haven’t reached, how far off track they are from typically developing kids.
Each year around his birthday, we’re called by support entities regarding our nonverbal autistic son’s current status to confirm his continued eligibility for services. Each time I have to say, “He is severely disabled and not able to speak on the phone,” I feel tears start to well up. It is the repeated reminder of how far I fell from the basic goal of helping my child become functionally independent. When he turned 18, receiving a call from the Selective Service and having to explain that it made no sense for my son to register for the draft felt like being on another planet. The officer’s military tone softened as he listened to my cracking voice.
Individuals with disabilities, of whatever type, face a steep climb through life in many ways. Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean things get easier. As one difficulty eases, another challenge is revealed.
And yet individuals soldier on, climbing up each steep path. And they do reach new heights, and we do celebrate those milestones. Feeling disheartened part of the time is counterbalanced by the joy of seeing how high we’ve climbed together despite the obstacles.
We stop and take a breath, enjoy the realization of our progress, then pick up our feet and continue climbing the next stretch.
This week’s Hike Notes are from the archives, Huckleberry Trail, an unexpectedly steep, rough trail on Mt. Tam, but a satisfying effort connecting between two bigger scenic trails.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share, and follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 34): Huckleberry Trail
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.