Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Return of the Peripatetic Son

Andrew graduated in May, spent a few days with us then went off on his post-graduation summer travels. First he went to Colorado with a couple friends by way of a circuitous route and flew back to Maryland about a week later. Not long after that he flew to Seattle with his bike and very few other possessions to embark on a 1300 or so mile solo cycling trip to San Diego.

We heard from him weekly along the way (a predetermined compromise from several times a week) about how his trip was going. He spent a few days with friends in Seattle, then took the long way to Olympia to visit Clare. He tried to cycle to Portland, but was picked up along the way by Clare and friends. He spent more time in Portland (but didn’t participate in the Naked Bike Ride even though he thought about it.)

The next time we heard from him he was in Newport, Oregon setting up his campsite. He told us he was living on rice and beans cooked over a small cooker and it was getting old.

11717422_4434734826193_956547921161502244_oWe heard from him again when he was in San Francisco where he was able to meet up with some of Dean’s cousins. He stayed a day or so with Joanne, one of Dean’s cousins.

Andrew and I had a nice conversation when he was somewhere in the middle of California. He lamented that his trip was more than half over but was really happy he was doing it.

It seemed like more than a week, but we finally heard (though Tal) that Andrew was on his way to Santa Barbara where he was going to spend some time with our friend Tal. When he got to Santa Barbara Tal set up a Skype chat. Andrew, Tal and I talked for half an hour or so. Tal knew I was anxious to see how Andrew was doing and I am forever grateful to him for that gift.

11224305_10153139103781523_278894187786000153_nAfter that I saw some Facebook posts from a friend of Clare’s showing Andrew in Topanga having fun with some dogs and swinging on a rope. He called us sometime around then and said he’d stayed with Dean’s Uncle Ed and Aunt Fran in Pasadena one night.

We talked to Andrew a couple of times in the last couple of weeks. Once when he was in Baja California and again on Sunday when he called me from New Orleans for my birthday. Again he repeated that the trip was a great one in which he learned things about himself, was able to reflect on his life and he met some great people along the way.

Andrew comes home tomorrow morning. Home meaning the home in which he spent most of his life so far, but I know that before long he will have a new “home”. None of us know what is going to happen in the future. All I hope for is that Andrew be happy in whatever he does next.

I am so proud of both Andrew and Clare. They have both turned out to be amazing adults. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

 

Watch this video

Back when the kids were young we met Annie and Mike through the kids’ school. One day Annie suggested I read a book by her cousin’s wife, Denise. Annie loaned me her copy of The Question of David and I loved it. I got to meet Denise and her husband Neil at Annie’s son’s bar mitzvah and again at Annie’s daughter’s bat mitzvah. In addition I spent some fun times with them in Lake Tahoe (and Reno) when the kids and I visited Annie and her family at their vacation home there. I’m friends with both Denise and Neil on Facebook and when Denise posted the video below, I knew I had to share it.

Denise and Neil both have cerebral palsy and are in wheelchairs. They are also featured prominently in the video below which discusses how the public — specifically the public that deals with people for work (shop keepers, baristas, waiters, salesclerks, etc.) — should interact with people with disabilities. The number 1 rule is to not focus on the disability and focus on the person. Another important thing to remember is to talk to the person with the disability directly, not to someone with them. If they cannot communicate their friend will let you know, but talk to the person first. Also, don’t act nervous. You can feel it but don’t let them know you are. I learned a thing or two from watching this video. Watch it.