We arrived at Niagara Falls with childlike anticipation. None of us could wait to see the massive quantities of water cascading down the falls. And, Niagara was not to disappoint. First thing, we purchased our tickets for the Maid of the Mist. We weren’t quite sure how this would work for Eddie in his wheelchair. As it turned out, we were able to board first and get situated before the other 500 passengers joined us. The rest of the kids went up to the very front of the boat on the top deck (please, don’t expect accurate nautical terminology). We (Lyle, Eddie and I) stayed at a place where Ed in his wheelchair could see above the railings. As it turned out, it was the perfect spot; the boat turned into the falls and our side of the boat (the right side) was looking directly into what seemed like a torrential downpour. I don’t know why anyone bothers with the souvenir rain slickers. We were soaked and loving every minute of it. Eddie was nothing but smiles and laughter. And, the rest up top were awestruck by the power of the falls.
|Maid of the Mist|
After we disembarked, the kids made a b-line for the stairs to “climb” the falls. Why not get a little more drenched? It was quite a thrill with the winds whipping and the water churning. They were down almost as quickly as they went up.
|The kids heading up the steps|
From there, we headed to Canada. Christian was seated shotgun so he could be the first of our children to leave the country (this is a story for another time). It was uneventful at the border, which is always a pleasure, and off we headed to our hotel. We stayed at the Embassy Suites right at the falls, but for the sake of spending $$, we chose rooms with a city view.
|the view from our room|
The place was packed; we were like sardines in the lobby. Lyle went off to get us checked in and we found a seat and watched humanity pass to and fro. When he returned, he brought wonderful news. The hotel was so full that they couldn’t accommodate two adjoining rooms at the rate we booked, so they upgraded us to suites with a view of the Falls! What a treat.
Of course, the girls had to take all that these facilities had to offer. At 9pm, we headed to the pool. It was an experience, but it a really wonderful sort of way. It was a complete “kid free-for-all”; fun, raucous, laughter and decibel levels too high to hear yourself think. It was the kind of fun I remember having as a kid – not so bubble wrapped and rules oriented, just joy-filled!
One beautiful boy was playing with his siblings grinning from ear to ear. He was with his grandparents who couldn’t take enough pictures of him. His abandonment to fun was unparalleled, and everyone around him could sense it. He had Down Syndrome, and by far, he was the happiest kid in the pool. I just had to talk to his grandparents who beamed from ear to ear. Their lives would be missing so much joy and love without this young man (about age 11). It appeared that he might be fighting cancer from the very bald head, but I didn’t want to pry. I just thanked God for his presence, since Eddie couldn’t have managed this environment – too much noise, too much chaos to negotiate with his poor balance. But, the other kids got to see a beautiful example of love and joy in a child with disabilities.
So, with so many wonderful memories under our belts, we head off to visit Toronto the next day. We will stay midway between there and Montreal tonight. The Canadian adventure continues…