I love Joshua dearly and would not wish to be without him, but I have to admit that life is so much simpler without him in tow : I realised how simple it was travelling without my boy last week when I went to Texas. I could pack so much lighter – my case was half empty without the need to take so many clothes in case of accidents and no need to fill my suitcase full of nappies and medications. Through the airport I was only responsible for myself and there was no need for special assistance , priority lanes or boarding, I could go at my own pace and found that I had lots of time to kill. I did not need to hire an outsized car to have space to carry the wheelchair. On my drive I only stopped when I wanted to, not because Joshua needed a change or a break. To travel in this way was libaerating and refreshing.
We also get a taste for this same simplicity when Joshua is in respite : I woke and got up when I was ready yesterday, with nobody else to consider. We were able to tend to the garden all morning, with no need to continually check on a sleeping boy, and when we were ready, we could simply go out without packing up the car for a major expedition. We deliberately chose a river walk that is not wheelchair freindly, as we had no need to take that into account yesterday and we were able to turn around when we had had enough and not when Joshua had. We ate lunch in a cafe and I could eat my jacket potato when it was hot still, having no need to feed Joshua simultaneously. We both needed a siesta and were able to doze on the settee , with no need for one of us to stay awake to look after Joshua who rarely wants an afternoon nap when we do but will happily sleep all morning. I made us a hot curry for tea as that is not something that Joshua will share.
Yet, with all those benefits of being without Joshua, I miss him terribly when we are apart and I called his respite provision last night to hear about his day. I am already looking forward to getting him back and after two nights away from him, I am even wondering about picking him up a day early. He may well make life more difficult and complicated, but he is a central part of our family and his absence leaves a large hole in it, as though we are incomplete without him around.