The word means different things to different people.  For some, they break up with a lover they thought was “the one.”  A friend of ours considers it not being married by 45.  Not owning the latest designer brands for that year.  The death of a pet fish (to a 7yr old) (while you feed him “mystery meat” (aka fish sticks”) that night his fish died).   To some, the events that can bring about devastation mean something tragic.  To those who didn’t like their lover, need material things, want to be married or never cared about how a fish lived….  These can mean different things.  To those with disable children/loved ones it means something else.  This week, my husband faced his own (another) devastation….

The MINI-VAN.  Through the amazing efforts of people we did not know (or didn’t know well), we received a 1997 Ford Windstar WITH a FULLY AUTOMATIC WHEELCHAIR lift.  Basically we are going from lifting Riley out of the chair into his car seat, which he would cry as soon as he was in (too small, too vertical, too much… for us all) to a van that our youngest can operate the lift (really cool… like a “Lunar Landing every time” he puts the lift down) and Riley just wheels into the van and is in (comfortable)!!!

The first time he was in it, I could see  his expression… going outside he thinks (“warm FL air hits my face”), am rolling (“guess I am going for a Rollerblade with Dad?”), wait something is going on (“I am in my wheelchair and moving and Dad is not around?!  How did we get to Naples Equestrian Challenge and I never left my wheelchair.  Holy Crap!!!! I can fly!!!).  Total confusion by Riley.  How can this be so easy? (for him and us).

It is easy.  SO MUCH easier.  Thanks to the efforts of amazing people who do this for a few families as the opportunity allows them (they own a car dealership and are friends with conversion van specialists– all lose money on every conversion but do it for, well, a variety of reasons.  Regardless of what life dealt them, good people do exist).  But I digress, why “Devastation”…

The SECOND MINI-VAN.  My husband drives to work.  Instead of his normal 2000 Toyota Camry that sports the decals and dings of “TheSharkToothGuy” he is driving a mini-van — something he SWORE he would never own — and now he owns TWO in ONE week…

Through the extremely generous gift of his aunt and uncle, he owns a beautiful 2000’ish Town and Country (looks new).  It was so nice we had to keep it and give up his Toyota.  He pulls up to the red-light.  Hot 30-some year olds partying in a Mustang Convertible are next to him.  He glances over with his best Matt Damon smile (really good actually).  Then realizes he is in a Mini-Van.  Not only that he owns 2 of them (they wouldn’t know that but we all keep secrets we don’t want others to know) AND ON TOP OF THAT… wait for it… he has a decal on the back that says proudly (and loudly for print) “ND MOM” (Notre Dame)…. days pass…

While a bit sullen of late, he will not talk about it.  The other night however he did admit that his two balls have been replaced by 2 minivans.  Apparently he has no idea what to do about the ND sticker proclaiming proud ND mom.  I told him he could take it off, but he replied: “The male bull knows his place.  No longer a Bull Shark.  Sharks lose their teeth, the Bull loses his…. ” Well.  Still he went on to say….

Both vans are an amazing gift.  So needed.  Timing couldn’t be better (Riley is so big and our Jeep was torture for us, but more importantly him).  After a run of really bad luck, there are people (family and those who just show up) that make a difference when you need it most.

“Ghost Writer Here”…John/dad/whatever…

I wrote this for Stacie.  A joke about the vans.  Pretty much all true.  Still, it is so much easier/helped so much and came when our faith in people/life was fading.   I guess, if you can take something away from this blog-post:  You don’t always get what you want but what you need *(Black Crows).  I pray for that.  Was praying for help and it happens (twice).  I believe it.  Still don’t know how to get up some mornings but do out of the hope that I get what I need (or am able to provide for our disabled son what he needs).  It was through the efforts of others that Riley/we got the van (two-fold) …. I don’t know what I want (the dream of Riley being normal, is not possible).  But through the generosity of others, I got what I need (reliable cars (ok, mini-vans) and more so the comfort of Riley.  It made him smile, right?  I guess that has something to do with the title of my blog?

5 Responses to Devastation.

  1. […] go.  It was time to accept that we really needed an accessible van, John writes more about this in Devastation. John has modified the look of his new […]

  2. Celia (HHL) says:

    So true … We always get what we ask/pray for… though perhaps not the way we thought it would come , or the we wanted it to come… But we most certainly always get what we need!! Many blessings to you all! xo C. (HHL)

  3. sydney says:

    Mick of the ‘Stones said it first, “you don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need” the dude in the BC was still a toddler…I’m glad things are happening that are good for Riley and your family, my dad grew to love his minivan so much that when it finally sputtered to it’s death…he bought another one! His youngest was 25, he drags his golf buddies around, takes out the seats and it hauls stuff around….you never know it might become the premier shark guy mobile!

    • Stacie says:

      Trend setting in the dive community – I love it.

      • Rita Buck says:

        Anyone who has the honor of laughing with you, crying with you, playing with you, praying with you, just knowing you knows you are more man than most inspite of the minivans.
        Now, think, “flower power” and Peace signs, VERY fashionable these days:)

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