Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend of Anniversaries

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Noah happy at his Baptsim Anniversary Party

Wheelchair Rentals at The Wild Animal Sanctuary

A Tiger taking a Morning Bath

Baptism Annivesary Cake

This weekend was a anniversary celebration. Chris and I's wedding anniversary was Saturday, and we all decided to celebrate the anniversary of the boys' joint baptism on Sunday. It was a great weekend with lots of unexpected surprises. Much like last year we opted for Texas Roadhouse as our choice of celebration for our wedding anniversary, however this year we decided to actually take both boys there and in dine out. We knew a storm was brewing on the horizon, but figuratively we are rather used to storms in our life. I am amazed with the bravery and courage that Chris and I have formed in our marriage as a result of unexpected events and trials in our life. Sometimes you have this attitude if I got through all that - then I can get through anything ahead. And that's not to say that it's not hard along the way. We just refuse to stop going when it comes to all that life demands of us for the sake of Noah.

As we arrived to dinner the storm had hit bringing rain and wind in a fast and furious downpour. We should have realized something was a muck when we seen the staff feverishly running outside, but thought nothing of it. When we were done with dinner we realized what the fuss had been about... the parking lot had flooded with about 2 feet of water. Knee deep. And of course the one time we opt not to park in handicapped parking because a regular spot was closer and the van was in water. Luke and I braved it to the car with my flip flops suctioning to the asphalt as I walked through the water. I was able to get the car out of the water, and pull closer to the door so we could load Noah in safely. Noah had a great time, but maybe it's due to his namesake - water and flood don't really bother him. He was amused. And we have a memory of remember when we went to dinner and the parking lot flooded...

We decided to take the boys to the Wild Animal Sanctuary based upon recommendation, which is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the US dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores - who would have guessed it was literally in our own backyard of Colorado! We all got up Sunday morning, looked at the grey and cloudy skies and said to ourselves we have time to beat the rain. So off we went. God held off on his rainstorm Sunday and we were thankful, it provided us with cooler weather without sun for a magnificent morning outing. The staff was tremendously nice there. They give everyone an orientation before entering the mile walkway, and usually wait until they have a larger group to do so, however knowing that Noah doesn't do well waiting, did one quicker for us. I was also tremendously impressed that they have a wheelchair, walker and handicapped accessible equipment area there. In all the places I have been I have never seen handicapped rentals. To me that said instantly we have big hearts and we want to welcome everyone. And some of these handicapped wheelchairs are even powered. They have made it possible for all types of needs to go. I was in awe. There is not one set of stairs there. Stroller and wheelchairs are a breeze. And it is especially wonderful for Noah who can't get up to look at animals and here he simply can look down to see everything as you walk above all of the animals. It was incredible to actually see these tigers, lions, and bears in real habitats, there was something very different than viewing them at a zoo. They were all very genuinely happy, active and you felt like you were on safari. Listening to lions roar in all their glory, gives you goose bumps in how wonderful and powerful they are. We watched more bears than I could even count play around, tigers taking baths and playfully batting at each other, and wolves all huddled lovingly in their pack. You can tell a lot of love goes into the Wild Animal Sanctuary. They care about the lives of these animals tremendously. Some of them of course have their own special needs as many were neglected or abused so they are being rehabilitated in a sense to join others out in open space and are being lovingly reintroduced to larger spaces and prides by having adjacent large cage accommodations to get them better acquainted with their surroundings. There is also a large tent area at the end of the walkway that offers a covered area for eating. I would recommend packing a lunch simply because they really didn't have things that Noah could eat. They are great about having snacks to get you by in a pinch, chips, soda, candy bars and such - but they didn't have anything like ice cream in a cup or soft serve that Noah could handle. But there are three nice large areas where you can eat overlooking animals on this 720 acre lot and they welcome you to bring packed lunches. It is huge - sometimes so big you know you can see a camel in the distance or a lion sunbathing - but they were really out there on the plains. Noah had a great time. I think he was a bit bored in the beginning until he realized that he had to look down to see things. Then we seen the giggles and smiles.

After The Wild Life Sanctuary it was off for a quick haircut for the boys to make them handsome before we celebrated the annivesary of their joint baptism. We didn't do anything super big, just family and Godparents, it was a wonderful afternoon filled with lots of love. The boys got little gifts almost like a tiny Christmas which was extra special, and we were invited over to their Godmother's house where she thought of every comfort detail for Noah possible, a soft plush blanket rinsed and washed twice to make sure it was perfect for Noah and his ongoing nummular eczema battle. And even pulled out a blender knowing Noah would need pureed food. It takes a very special person to love Noah that much to think of him and what he'd need down to every little detail. I probably can't even count the number of people who'd be willing to love Noah in that way on one hand. They are the people that are treasures to us and help us on this journey more than they probably even realize they do. They are always there to lift us up, encourage us, and give us this amazing love regardless of Noah's many challenges. They don't ever see him as different. He is included as if he's just like everyone else.

Unfortunately the news on the SSI & Medicaid issues aren't as fantastic as our weekend was; they lost the paperwork I sent in for May and claim they couldn't read June's faxed paystubs. I emailed them documentation proving that I indeed did mail everything; down to a copy of the envelope I sent it in. They told me the reason Noah isn't eligible for benefits in August is because August is a five week pay period and they of course are guessing at what Chris "might" make, although I reminded them that they keep telling me their calculations are two months behind which would mean anything Chris made in June would determine August's payout. No response on that as I think they come up with different stories all the time - they really have no idea what they are doing and I think that there is no one competent at that agency. I was a government employee once I can guarantee if I mucked up someone's life as much as they are doing to us I would have been fired in a heartbeat. There should be some sort of accountability for doing a good job, and there isn't when it comes to SSI and Medicaid. I have no idea where we stand now. I have confirmation that they received my emails they said they'd get back to me that day and that was almost a week ago. Noah received no SSI benefits in June. However his Medicaid has not yet lapsed. They say we'll get something in July and then nothing in August. Although according to my calculations Noah is due benefits continuing on. It all feels like a waiting game until the next set of paperwork crap comes in the mail.

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story. Linda Hogan


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.