Thursday, April 5, 2012

Costa Rica

We’re in Costa Rica with Paul's family this week, visiting my sister-in-law who is living in Monteverde with her daughter while on sabbatical.  While all of us were excited to get here, Oscar was especially ecstatic about this trip.  As a little guy he was obsessed with rainforests and has been begging for years to visit one.  I reminded him yesterday that his preschool teacher turned the classroom’s play kitchen area into a rainforest on his behalf. (He doesn’t know this was also because otherwise he would have spent the entire school day in the kitchen, making plates full of plastic fruit mixed with all sorts of forbidden foods like pink frosted donuts, three layer chocolate cakes, and miniature fake fries.)

Oscar’s been so engaged and energetic here in the rainforest.  He’s the first one to volunteer for any walk – to Quaker Meeting, a mile up the big hill to breakfast, an extra two mile loop in the local reserve.  On Sunday he hiked the steep, rocky, and, at times, slippery trail to the impressive San Luis waterfall.  He hikes slowly in the back of the group with whichever adults feel like strolling, while the other kids race ahead, bounding up hills and leaping across makeshift bridges. Oscar doesn’t leap or bound, but he does just keep on going without complaint.  When we got to the waterfall he happily squatted on a damp rock overlooking the deep pool and watched his dad, cousin and brother jump from the face of the rock into the water right next to the misty fall.  I don’t think he ever thinks about wishing he could follow in their footsteps, but sometimes I do.  Not for my sake, but for his.  What would it be like for him to be out there jumping too?  What would his dogged determination look like in a body that complied? Or, I often wonder, are his determination and positive attitude also a result of learning to persevere through the challenges that PWS presents?  I’ll never know of course.

On Monday we went to Selvatura, a nearby adventure and wildlife park.  Oscar insisted on visiting every exhibit - he toured the reptile house, saw the hummingbirds, and visited the butterflies and insects.  And, amazingly, he agreed to a ziplining tour through the rain forest. I didn't know, and neither did he, that it would be thirteen ziplines through the rainforest canopy that would take 2.5 hours to complete.  I had chosen the hanging bridges walk instead but arrived at the last platform in time to wait for Oscar and the rest of our crew to complete the last zip. I stood there waiting, pacing, hoping he'd had fun. Hoping it wasn't too strenuous or stressful. Hoping we hadn't stretched him too far.  Hoping he and Paul hadn't had to hike back on the trails instead.  I looked out across the valley in search of the starting platform but it was hidden among the trees over one kilometer away. Another family was waiting too, and we took turns checking the cables for vibration, our only sign that they were on their way. When Oscar finally zipped in to the platform he was waving and beaming.  “Mom, mom it was so cool -- we were so high up in the trees!"

Here he is mid zip. (I was relieved to learn he did every zip with a guide).

And here he is beaming. (You can't see me, but I'm beaming too)

1 comment:

  1. Joy - for you, for Oscar, for your entire family. Thank you for writing your joy so that we can share it with you!