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A few days ago, I mentioned our trip to Chicago and Andrew's pilgrimage to see the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field. I knew before we left that the game would be the highlight of Andrew's trip, especially if the Cubs were victorious. Planning activities for David, however, can be more difficult because I am often amazed by what takes his fancy—the wind turbines along the drive, for example—and I am sometimes equally surprised by the things that cause him great difficulty.
David probably would have been happy simply to swim in the hotel pool for several hours each day and call it a good trip, but we felt obligated to attempt to find other things for him to enjoy. Forced fun, I like to call it. After all, we belong to a pool in Omaha and if we were just going to have him swim the whole time, we could have saved the 450 mile drive and stayed home. And frankly there were many occasions on the trip when I wondered why we didn't do just that.
One of the things I thought both he and Andrew would enjoy was a trip to the Field Museum. I actually thought he might be interested to see the T-Rex, Sue, and some of the other exhibits. What I did not anticipate, however, was that he would not be able to make it past the front doors—the beautiful, etched glass and polished brass automatic doors. Actually, he did make it just past the doors and no further. They were too intriguing, too exciting and all David wanted to see. They served as his escape from everything that was making him uncomfortable.
Little did we know that we could have saved the $74 in admission, sat on the bench by the doors and David would have been happy, but Michael had already purchased our tickets before it became apparent that we would not be able to coax David into the museum.
Our ride on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel was not much better. Obviously afraid of heights, you could tell that there was discomfort any time the gondola moved, even slightly. The white knuckles and the staring at the floor instead of enjoying the view were also indicative of the incredible amount of anxiety experienced. The only difference was that the person having such a problem on the Ferris wheel was not David, it was me.
I am afraid of heights and I know it is an unreasonable fear, which Michael tried to remind me several times during the seven minute ride. Actually, Andrew was quite amused by my reaction to the seemingly innocuous ride. I know intellectually that my reaction is ridiculous, but the anxiety that I feel in those situations is quite real.
Well, I am happy to report that you did not miss the news of the terrible Navy Pier Ferris Wheel tragedy of 2010, because, much to my delight, we made it back to solid ground without incident. And since taking that ride, I have been thinking about my reaction and how easy it was for Michael to dismiss it because he does not understand what I am feeling. I will have to remember that ride on the Ferris wheel the next time I dismiss David's anxiety. And the next time we visit Chicago, maybe we will skip both the Field Museum and the Ferris wheel.