As summertime approaches, many of you are thinking about upcoming trips and adventures you might partake in….maybe a cruise to the Bahamas, vacation in the French Rivera, or a trip to Maui? But what is the meaning of a vacation? I see it as taking a break from the difficulties in life, such as work or other everyday stressors. Usually it is spent with family or friends. Not many of us would say that we want to go on holiday to be alone in a cabin. I mean, really?……S’mores is way better with a friend, plus then you don’t feel as guilty if someone else is with you knee-deep in marshmallow heaven.
I remember as a little girl growing up, every year my Dad would plan a family vacation. He took pride in his vintage Silver Streak that he called “The Silver Bullet”. We would haul that trailer with us to various camping sites throughout the United States. My brother and I would complain non-stop about being lugged around each monument or attraction my Dad could find. When my Dad took a wrong road, he would just call it a short-cut, even if it tacked hours onto our trip. Sometimes I felt like I would have to gnaw off my leg, like a fox in a trap, just to escape the traitorous family vacation, but before you know it, Dad would pull into the most amazing places.
From Yellowstone National Park to South park, Colorado, my childhood is filled with unbelievable memories. Some I don’t like to remember, like sitting on a barrel cactus and others that make me smile, like when I caught the first fish of the summer vacation. But now as an adult, it is hard to find that happiness during the summer months. Mostly because Dad and Mom are not footing the bill anymore, but also because there are somethings you can not take a vacation from.
Since March 11th, 2010, one word has taken up permanent residency in my life….Parkinson’s. It doesn’t matter where I go, how far I might travel, Parkinson’s disease is always there. Everyday I am impacted by its tenacity and each day I will speak of it. There is no vacation from my Parkinson’s, it is now apart of me, just like my gender or the color of my skin, it is who I am. I can not change it, nor can I change the way that people react to my Parkinson’s symptoms. But I can embrace that I am now a Parkie and any vacation I plan might have restrictions, but it doesn’t have to limit the happiness I get from going on a trip with family or friends.