Traveling with Noah, even locally, is challenging. A lot of thought has to go into finding something that will work for a child like him. He sleeps in a hospital bed at home; he needs support for bathing, he needs blenders to make his meals, he needs room so that he can lay on the floor and rest, or larger areas to maneuver his wheelchair. It is so complicated that it kept us homebound for the first five years of Noah's life, because we never thought it would be possible to leave home with a child like him and that we could find a way to make it work.
I reached out to the only hotel that I really knew that would be close to the North Pole - The Broadmoor, a historic five star premiere resort. I simply inquired about any options we might have and if they might have what Noah needed in order to be comfortable while we traveled. I didn't expect to receive the warm and kind correspondence and communication that I did. Our lives are so challenging that it's rare when you make a connection that instantly welcomes you with open arms and without hesitation or reservations about our situation.
Not only was the Broadmoor open to us staying with them so Noah could visit Santa and the Cheyenne Zoo while traveling, but they wanted to learn more about him, and how they could make his stay enjoyable, comfortable and memorable for the entire family. They reached out in an email that felt like a giant hug. They inquired about Noah's likes and dislikes and what he need in sleeping accommodations, took note of his favorite foods, drinks, and even asked about his little brother and and us as a family. The Broadmoor spared no small detail. They were meticulous in planning and working with us for many months as we prepared for our stay. I felt such a sincere offering of love from all the staff working behind the scenes to make Noah's stay special.
We were greeted by Ms. Alamia, the Special Services Concierge who assisted us with remote entry into the gated Cottages upon arrival. She was just as warm and as welcoming as she was over the phone. She felt like a familiar friend and had coordinated every detail of our arrival and stay. We were walked to our assigned Cottage named the Dickinson Cottage, on the very end of the row close to the outdoor fireplace and lawn bowling area. Our Cottage was just receiving some final housekeeping touches when we arrived. Even housekeeping was exceptionally warm and friendly. I enjoyed conversations with all of them, and loved how involved they were in our stay.
We took a quick tour of our Cottage, but I remained in awe of how much thought and effort went into Noah's bed. His padded guard rails matched the decor and theme of the Cottage, making sure that all 3 rails with the headrest had no gaps and really nice oversized chuxs under the sheets, a plush sensory soft Broadmoor teddy bear nestled sweetly on lined up pillows with a complimentary hat and t-shirt. Upon looking at the very care and detail that went into making Noah's bed a special place for him to sleep I knew that our stay would be nothing less than extraordinary.
The Cottages also have a partial kitchen lounge that they stocked with a blender so I could puree Noah's foods if we needed, and they purchased his favorite apple juice and breakfast yogurts for him which were waiting in the refrigerator him.
The Broadmoor had coordinated a private bird showing for Noah shortly after we arrived. A falcon named Popcorn came with his handler to meet Noah. An incredibly gorgeous young bird, that followed every command and direction flawlessly. Feeding on chick legs as treats he flew majestically to and from Noah. Noah's face lit up with delight and awe. The first time he's ever been able to experience something so close to him - which was a really an enriching experience for a child that has no physical mobility. He cannot run and chase animals or explore them in a way that typical children or people do. So having a falcon essentially come to him was incredible. Noah's little brother was a tad bit in more awe of the greatness of the Cottage, eager to make himself cozy in a red leather upholstered rocking chair and coordinating ottoman than focusing completely on Popcorn's grand flight in air.
Popcorn seemed to ruffle the feathers so to speak of nearby nesting black birds who harassed him as he flew in an attempt to keep him away from their nearby families. Popcorn tolerated their incessant dive bombing as if he knew that he had only one mission - impressing Noah.
After we had said our goodbyes to Popcorn we had a chance to meet Ms. Alba the Resident Manager of the Broadmoor. It was exceptionally nice to meet her as she was the person I initially contacted to inquire about the possibly of seeing if the Broadmoor would be an option for Noah's stay while visiting the North Pole. She equally as warm and loving offering a hug. It felt so much more than just a simple hotel stay - it felt like we were among family.
I needed that feeling. For months I have felt my joy being slowly extinguished from all the daily challenges that come along with special needs parenting. It's exhausting to fight for services, for help, insurance denials, attend therapies, coordinate countless appointments on Noah's behalf, manage meetings, figure out how to fund all of Noah's out pocket medical, therapy and equipment expenses all the while trying to assist other families in the special needs community so that they don't feel as if they have no one to turn to. We at times are just existing... not living. Our normal is not normal. I wish it was. The Broadmoor for two days made us feel normal. Completely and entirely normal. It was as if Noah didn't have the challenges he has, he was valued, respected, and well cared for - an equal member of society for two wonderful days.
Sitting in a moment of awe in this grand living area in the Cottage the doorbell rang and it was a lovely welcoming gift of cheeses, chocolates and fruits with a bottle of Moscato, a special occasion favorite of mine that the Broadmoor had taken note of. It was overwhelming in a sense as special needs parenting has a tendency to knock you down that you often feel undeserving of such kindness. One should never grow accustomed to the harshness and cruelty the world can often deliver upon you if you have a child with special needs - but in a way it does. It seeps into your soul and makes you feel unworthy. I had only anticipated that it would be a lovely stay for Noah, but the Broadmoor had coordinated efforts to make each family member feel welcomed and special.
Hospitality is love in action.
Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.