Monday, October 02, 2017

Dreaming (+ a very special giveaway!)

Thanks to Alaska Airlines for partnering with me this year on a discussion about fear, love and traveling as a special needs family. Thank you so much for supporting sponsors here on TLM, as it allows me to keep creating content I care about. As always, all opinions are my own. I'm excited to kick off Disability Awareness Month with this post and a very special giveaway for my special needs families out there! 

"Some men see things as they are and say why; I dream things that never were and say why not?"
--George Bernard Shaw

When I write about disability, I'm not always writing about disability.

Disability is one of the many lenses through which I see life. A lens through which I examine, explore and learn more about the human condition. Just like a Picasso isn't about paint on a canvas and a symphony by Mozart isn't about the instruments being played. They're lenses. We're all exploring different pieces of the human experience in whatever way we feel called to explore--words, sounds, pictures, paint, clay, film, earth, water, sports, travel... the list is endless.

But so often the messages are the same. So many lenses teach us about the beauty of the world around us, the beauty of humanity itself. The importance of unity, diversity, hopes, dreams, fears and love.

I've often said that the journey of a special needs parent is one that starts in fear and lands in love. For me, that fear at the beginning of our special needs journey encapsulated a host of unknowns, from medical conditions to medical costs, new family relationships and the harmony of relationships already firmly in place. For a while it seemed that the dreams for our family's collective future seemed to hang in the balance.
But then we landed in love. What I mean by that is that the love we felt for our daughter changed our perspective and our lives. Some of my fears actually disappeared altogether because it turned out that they were completely unfounded to begin with. Fear tends to conjure imaginary foes. Others fears diminished, because in the shadow of love those fears and worries became manageable.

See, fear is a shrinking experience. Fear makes you feel small and inadequate and ill-equipped. But love? Love expands. With love our view of disability expanded to see human POSSibility. With love we were able to see a life that is whole, futures filled to the brim with all sorts of good things to come and we breathed new life back into those dreams once rendered lifeless.


No matter your lens, this fear to love experience is a universal one. Everyone experiences this in one way or another and usually many times over in the course of a life. Something in your life has made you shrink, has actually closed the walls in on you. And you've either learned to live in a smaller space, or you've found your way to love and expanded your world again.
However, I'm learning that it's not jut a fear to love journey, but often a fear and love journey. Because on the other side of fear is where all our dreams lie.

All of us have dreams for our future, and dreams for our children's futures, and part of facing those dreams includes facing our fears as well. You don't want to live in fear, but fear is a part of life and it can either render you helpless or make you stronger. If you have dreams, you also have fear. To get to our dreams we've got to get really good at hurdle jumping over our fears along the way.

Yes our journey has been one of fear to love, but we it's a round trip journey we take again, and again and again.

For us traveling as a special needs family, is one of the dreams we resurrected and therefore one of the ways we learned to face our fears. It is always a little scary traveling with our daughter's wheelchair as it's often gotten a little (or a lot) banged up. And for a piece of equipment that is our daughter's legs (not to mention, cost more than our first two cars combined) it is not something you want to get "banged up." Additionally, it's not always easy to leave the comfortable cocoon of our neighborhood, school and church where we don't have to answer questions about Lamp's disability or deal with a fresh set of stares and whispers. We've had some tough encounters in our travels as a special needs family.
But we've also had amazing experiences as a special needs family as well. In general, travel is one of the best ways to expand your world view and realize your dreams--to see and experience new places and people, landscapes...you are quite literally stepping out of your life and into another, unfamiliar world. There is reason to fear, but there is more reason to do.

To think that there was a time when the dreams for our daughter were very closed and limited feels so foreign to me now. We have dreams for all of our daughters and their futures, and they are all big and full and limitless.

I am so grateful to Alaska Airlines for supporting special needs families and their dreams of travel. You can read about their special needs guidelines here, wheelchair assistance here and their involvement in the Wings for Autism program here.

Finally, for all you special needs families out there I have a very special giveaway for you. I have teamed up with Alaska Airlines to give away 4 round trip vouchers to the Alaska Airlines destination of your choice* to one special reader. I believe in the power of storytelling as a means of inspiration and changing hearts and minds. To enter please write a short 1-2 paragraph essay (no more than 500 words) answering the question: How have you conquered fear and landed in love? You have a until December 1st to enter. So go ahead, tell me about your fear to love journey and be entered to win 4 airline tickets for your family! I will be sharing our favorite stories and the winner in early January. Email all entries to thislittlemiggy@gmail.com with the Alaska Airlines Giveaway in the subject. We will read through each and every entry and choose our very favorite to receive 4 free round trip tickets and I may just have some other goodies in store for our backup winners as well. I cannot wait to read your entries.

*The travel authorization (certificate) is only valid for flights served by Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, and/or Sky West Airlines flights. Excludes Barrow, AK and Cuba. Mileage Plan Miles cannot be earned or credited. First Class paid upgrades or mileage plan upgrades are allowed. Connections are also allowed (subject to fare rules) First Bag Free for Visa Signature® Cardholders. See our checked baggage policy and flight schedules atwww.alaskaair.com for more details. Individual travel taxes may apply. Once ticketed, fare rules apply regarding changes to itinerary. The certificate is valid for one year from date of issue with no extensions permitted. The following black-out dates apply: NOV 20-27, 2017 DEC 18, 2017-JAN 2, 2018. The certificate is void if bartered or sold. If lost, the certificate may not be reissued.

2 comments:

  1. I'm gonna do it! Thanks for the contest! So cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Entered it. Even if I don't win, it was cathartic to put my heart out on the table and sit with it for a minute! Thanks for creating a safe space for families like ours and all you do :)

    ReplyDelete