Easter Baskets, In Training and Central Park…

As with any day I am able to go to church, Sunday was a good day.  I woke with severe pain in my legs but since they had not stiffened up, I was still able to dress and go.  I can manage the pain most times as long as my joints have not stiffened, it is only when they stiffen that makes going out an impossibility.  Our son, Benjamin, made the trek before the rest of our family taking over the Easter Candy for the baskets as well as making sure the elevators were operational for me to use.  The rest of us took a little more time getting ready and then headed out together.  The weather was cool and a bit windy but we are finally past those bitterly cold days.

Lynne and Taddington after

We were treated at church with a message from Skip Moen, Ph.D who wrote the book our church is reading together this year, "Words to Lead By: A Practical Daily Devotional on Leading Like Jesus".  What a bonding experience for the whole church to be studying on a particular, and much needed, subject and then to have the author grace us with two messages now, has been a huge blessing.  

Taddington all tuckered
out after playing with
the kids.
Taddington came with us to begin his official training as a Therapy Dog.  He spent time everywhere and especially with the children.  We hope to make that our specialty so when we are assigned places to go as a Therapy Dog, they will include Children's Wards.  He will be such a perfect size for that and our vet thought it would be especially good since he is hypoallergenic.

After service everyone seemed to have something to do.  There were Easter Baskets to be made and Seder service rehearsal as well as a lesson on how to use the TENs machine.  After service, we headed back home to enjoy a quiet evening together.  Some time was spent putting things together for the trip with GTTKids to Central Park the next day.  I was hoping to make it but was unsure if I was going to be able to after making church on Sunday.  

Taddington striking a
pose as our Easter
As the day dawned on Monday morning, the pain was manageable and I was not stiff so I decided to make my first trip anywhere, without Josh, since becoming sick.  I was so nervous but I knew I had Victoria, Ben and Sam with me and going meant so much to Samuel.  I have missed so many of his special moments over the last four years, he loves when I can manage to go to something of his.  So, I got up, got a treatment, and we started packing for the day.

We were going to be on-time but Ben forget to attach my portable ramp to the wheelchair so he had to run back for it which took more time than we wanted.  It turned out we didn't need it but being a veteran of the New York City subway system, I knew I needed to be prepared.  Sometimes the gap between the platform and the subway cars can be from 6 to 8 inches which is too much for my chair to climb and a ramp is necessary for me to make it onto the train.

The GTTKid's were kind enough to walk to Chamber's Street so I could use the elevator at that station and we took the 1 train to Columbus Circle.  Our trek up to the Central Park went without a hitch.  All the kids were having so much fun, playing word games on the way up there and entertaining an entire car of people heading off to their day.  Nothing like a bunch of joyful faces to remind you life can be full of smiles. 

Lynne on the subway.
We made the quick walk to Central Park and everyone was excited to start our trip in the Big Playground area.  Walking into the play area we learned a valued lesson.  Dogs are not permitted in that area unless in a carrier.  Fortunately, we had Taddington's carrier since we took him on the subway.  He was tired from the trip anyway so he slept the entire time the kids were in the playground.  The rule makes sense since most dogs wouldn't react well to running children so we were glad to oblige.  

After having a wonderful time in the play area and eating a snack, we moved on to the Meadow to play football.  It was starting to sprinkle at this point but Kelly took a moment and we all prayed for God to hold off the rain so we could enjoy our day.  It did get cloudy and a bit colder and windier but we avoided rain and was able to get in a few games of football.

The Football Game!
I sat amazed I was in the 'Sheep's Meadow' watching my boys play football.  For years I had seen this very spot in movie after movie and here I was, sitting here myself.  It was an experience for me to see Central Park for the first time.  I was amazed it was as picturesque as I had imagined it all these years.  It was a big event for me to make the trip without Josh but I was so glad to see Central Park and enjoy the day out with my children and the children from the church.

After a wonderful day, we headed back home.  Unfortunately, the Columbus Circle stations isn't known for being overly helpful if you are in a wheelchair and once again, we had a problem there.  First, it took several minutes to convenience the man behind the window to please open the door so I could get the wheelchair through.  His first response was the door didn't work, which we knew to be false, after several minutes of Victoria arguing with him, he let me through.  I think I will be making yet another call to NYC transit to complain yet again about that station.  
The kids and me in Central Park.
Add to that the fact that it took four elevators to get us to the necessary platform, it was a difficult beginning to our trip home.  Victoria and Ben accompanied me down the elevator but we couldn't find anyone else.  We thought they jumped the train and we lost them but they were looking for us.  It was a maze, not very clearly marked, to find our way to the right platform.  We thank Kelly for her keen sense of direction and willingness to run up and down the platforms to help us find our way to the train.  The train turned out to be very crowded being as it was 5pm and Greg had to sacrifice his back to keep the door open so I could get my chair onboard which I was so grateful, but, we all made it and we were on our way back home.

The whole gang together!!!

Once on the train, the ride was bit more subdued because everyone was exhausted after the big day.  We made it back to the church just in time to save the pizza from heading back to Domino's since we were a bit late after our ordeal at Columbus Circle.  Josh met us there after work and brought me my dinner since I can't have pizza.  It was nice to have him with us on our trip back to the Jersey.  Once everyone was safe and warm inside and food graced everyone's belly, there was a renewing of energy and games commenced.

What fun everyone had.  By the time I made it back home, I was exhausted.  I made the trip but not without paying a bit of a price.  I got home, cleaned up and fell asleep on the couch.  My night was not as rough as it could have been and I woke this morning doing better than expected so we were all thrilled that I was able to make such an adventure and  still maintained the next day.  

GTTKids Central Park Photos

I think the one thing being sick has taught me was to treasure every moment.  I loved watching
all the children move back and forth and play.  Watching them have such fun and interacting with each other gave me a lot of joy.  My big job was to sit with our things which I was happy to do.  It gave everyone else the freedom to play without worrying about watching all the backpacks and such.  I thought it was a good job for Taddington and me.  I even got in a little bit of reading when everyone was out of eye shot.

I think when you are ill and each day is a struggle, you must focus on those things God puts before you that make you smile.  I love being a part of my children's lives and I love seeing them spread their wings and learn to be independent.  It is what marks Josh and my job.  Watching them grow is one of the delights of our life.  

May God Bless and Keep You in His Grace,