Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on April 20, 2022# Lifestyle First published on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
Oddly, these two photos were taken the same day in mid-April in the White Mountains of NH. Our son has waited his entire life, all 12 years, to be old enough to participate in Loon Mountain’s Pond skimming, while our daughter could not wait to get the seeds in some soil, practically wrestling warmer temps into existence. Like her mother, she is excited for spring here in these parts because, for many years, winter lingers a little too long. Our boy successfully skimmed the pond and skied the rest of the day, while the rest of us abandoned him there to come home.
Although it is Easter, our son will be skiing this weekend. Geoff is headed to Montana for a weeklong PSIA ski event, where some of the best in the country gather to learn more together. Although loading and unloading his monoski gets old, skiing never does for my husband and son. In fact, I know when the mountain closes after Easter Sunday, our boy will cry big tears, desperate for just one more day. Even Geoff doesn’t think about transitioning to spring until after a late spring tradition of being out West for National Academy. On the other hand, our daughter has ordered tiny river drink floats in the shapes of pineapples, unicorns, and palm trees, clearly focusing on our water days ahead.
And me? I’ve also moved on. I’ve been playing catch in the yard with the kids, even around stubborn snow piles. I am dreaming of porch lettuce and sunflowers bigger than our heads and cilantro and dill and maybe even a pumpkin if the chipmunks don’t eat those again.
The boys will catch up; they always do, but they can’t really think about biking until the summer wax goes on the skis. Meanwhile, Momma gets the bike rack on the car, and we take an entire afternoon to pump up every bike tire and wheelchair tire in the place.
Spring is everything after a long winter. Spring is the resilience of crocus covered in snow; hope for Ukraine; and the rising river. Spring is a friend’s healing knee, or another’s broken pelvis. Spring is the paradox of loss and rebirth and love and heartache. Spring is really long baseball games and black flies and the first fish of the season. Spring is sweat and toil in the yard and a high school prom-posal and our boy’s first, middle school semi-formal.
Spring is also the healed pressure sore from winter ski boots. Spring is the final purchase of new winter boots after using the same pair since his spinal cord injury in 1996, proud of not “wearing them out.” However, they are packed out on the inside, thereby likely contributing to a pressure sore on his heel. Spring is also taking the kids and grandparents to see musical theater, where the Usher actually said out loud, “Well, we were only expecting one wheelchair for today’s matinee,” and motioned to an older woman in the back.
“Well, I purchased an accessible seat for my husband and chose seats around him for our family, and nowhere did it require me to say WHEELCHAIR.” I kept my voice low and firm, and seats were sorted out, but it seems to happen every time I try and do it online–somehow, our tickets get complicated.
Spring is me reaching out to my own editor, Julia Leonard, at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation blog, asking about the existence of quality of life grants for things like hand controls. She could not answer my query, but guess what– she forwarded to someone who could, and that is just another reason why I appreciated the work the Reeve Foundation continues to do day by day. Did you know that when you buy a new car, most dealerships pay $1000 or $1500 towards your installation fee? But, when you buy a used car, as we did this spring, due to the crazy high current cost of automobiles, the dealerships won’t pay anything towards hand controls. Unless someone knows something, we don’t! Please comment if you have any helpful hints! Did you also know the current installation cost of hand controls is almost $1800? That seems extra crazy to me for whatever reason.
However, like spring, they are a paradox, and we can’t actually live without them. So from hand controls to handlebars, and hands in the dirt, we send out our love for spring here in NH.
Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 12 and 10 respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.