Wednesday, March 31, 2010


We're in Tucson for Spring Break.  Paul and I have only been to the Southwest once before and never to Tucson. We've learned the names of so many of the beautiful native desert plants and cacti-- ocotillo, palo verde, barrel cactus, prickly pear.  But the saguaro cacti are especially stunning standing tall on the hillsides against the reddish canyon walls in the early morning light. 

Hikes in the canyons and side trips to Biosphere 2, the Desert Museum, and a spring training game (sadly, not the Oakland A's) have filled our days here along with afternoon marathons at the pool and tasty dinners out.

Today's adventure, though, was the highlight of the trip.  Paul, Abe and I hiked an ambitious 6.5 miles roundtrip up Bear Canyon to Seven Falls.   In addition to seven falls at the end of the trail, we also crossed the stream seven times on our way up.  Scouting for the best route and then boulder hopping without once falling into the rushing stream became our game.  Pressed for time, we hustled up passing other groups, and paused only for a few moments at the top to enjoy this stellar sight:

I wish we could have sat and bathed in those cool pools but we were late so we ran much of the way back down the switchbacks, dancing around the rocks along the trail.  We crossed the stream deftly in all seven spots, experts now.  Our water bottles clanked from their caribiners as we happily raced on the sandy paths between crossings.

At one point Abe said "This is so fun! No one is crying, no one is complaining and no one is worrying about anything!"

The "no one" he was referring to, of course, was Oscar and Ruby who we'd left with Paul's parents this morning so we could do this challenging hike quickly.  I know our energy sprang in part from the freedom we all felt, unencumbered by the younger two who would have struggled. Unconstrained we could push our bodies while our minds, so used to answering questions, allaying anxieties, and creating games to coax O and R along, could relax.

It was a wonderful feeling and I'm thrilled Abe acknowledged it. 

We've had very little internet access here in Tucson, so while I meant to join a conversation about siblings and responsibility started by Louise's great post over at Bloom last week, and continued on Elizabeth's wonderful blog, I've just not had the time.  I also think that I've been composting (to borrow from Natalie Goldberg) my thoughts.  I write and think a lot about siblings, but conversation, even in cyberspace, forces one to examine assumptions and rethink.

Though I have tried hard to protect Abe from feelings of responsibility over Oscar's current and future care, a certain amount is just unavoidable.  Abe certainly is a deeper thinker and more compassionate person because of his experience as Oscar's older brother. And while I do at times wish for something different for him, I know his life is ultimately enriched. 

But I also know that, as much as we adore Oscar, we need to have more adventures with Abe alone to regroup and reconnect away from the distractions and burdens of PWS.  Today's outing was a wonderful reminder that Paul and I need to create these opportunities at home, and not just on vacation.


  1. Ah--this post made me happy. For you and your husband and Paul. When I read about such things, I realize that it's all right. It's all right to do these things with my boys, away from Sophie. Thank you for showing me that, a little bit more.

  2. I meant you, your husband and Abe!

  3. this was lovely - and a wonderful experience for you all. It's good to remind ourselves that each of our children need different things from us.... the hard part of parenting!

  4. Hi Mary -- I just came here after reading one of your comments on BLOOM and I LOVED hearing about your holiday and this special hike with Abe and your husband and the freedom it gave you.

    I'm often cognizant of not building in enough (any?) of those one-on-one times with my other kids who don't have special needs. I loved it when Abe said: "No one is worrying about anything!" -- I live for those moments!

    Actually, I did have one recently when my hubby took 3 of our kids away for the weekend. My other daughter and I went out for dinner and it was such a special night. And it was also so quiet and peaceful at home -- without the commotion of everyone that always leads to kids' bickering.

    I find I do a lot of processing of things over time -- as you say -- often as a result of reading what others are saying on their blogs.

    I'm really torn by the sibling issue in terms of their potential involvement in future care. I've been thinking about calling our financial planner to find out what our modest efforts at putting money away for Ben may mean in realistic terms.

    I keep thinking of all the things I need to do now to try to build a better network of support around Ben.

    I'm so glad to hear about your vacation!

  5. This sounds like a beautiful day! I'm so thankful for your vacation and your enjoyment of one another's company, as well as Abe's freedom to share his feelings with you. What a lovely gift.