My family attended the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil recently.
Sister K and Mom sitting in the handicap accessible seats
We have always enjoyed going to shows but this was the first time we had done something like this with Mom’s MS the way it is now. Mom falls much more under the handicap accessible category than she used to and that presents new challenges for all of us. We purchased tickets in the handicap accessible seating for the first time. There were 2 tickets there and then 3 a few rows behind together. Dad dropped us off at the entrance to the venue. The handicap parking was full so he had to park elsewhere. Sister K and I got Mom inside and situated only to find the handicap bathroom stall was out of order. At this point it literally seemed like there was one thing after another. There was a moment when I saw some women in the bathroom line watching Sister K and I assist Mom into a normal stall- I was filled with envy. How easy for you to be here tonight. To walk in, find your seats and just relax and enjoy a fun-filled evening. Of course we had the exact same experience but just had a few obstacles getting to that point. I am disappointed I even had that thought at all. I have to stop comparing our situation to other people’s in moments like this. It isn’t healthy and it makes me more irrtated inside.
Sister K sat with Mom during the performance. I sat in the other seats with Dad and Husband. It was easier in case Mom needed anything for Sister K to help. In the end it was a wonderful night that ended with us playing Michael Jackson songs the entire way home along with stopping for some drive through ice cream. Most importantly it was very uplifting to get Mom out of the house and go do something different with her.
But it is tough. It definitely takes some effort to remain active as a family with Mom’s MS. Nothing is easy anymore and nothing is done quickly anymore. You have to anticipate and expect the unexpected and know things will most likely not run smoothly. Plus we are new to the phrase handicap accessible. New to knowing what our rights are, what we can demand, etc. For instance when we realized the handicap stall was broken we were told we could use the family restroom. There was a line for it but later after waiting in the line we were told we have priority. Now we know. We also now understand how handicap accessible seats work at an arena. (They are great by the way. I was really impressed.) Everytime we do something like this we learn new tricks which make next time easier. It is hard though because it requires me to be very “go with the flow,” to adapt quickly to any changes and not let it bother me. I have said it over and over on here- I am a planner. “Go with the flow” is hard for me. These situations also require me to fight urges to get stressed or uneasy and keep things calm and steady for Mom. I know she watches closely for my reaction in certain situations. I think she knows I am the first to break if there is something to really be stressed about. I wear my emotions on my face. Sometimes that is a positive but sometimes it is a real negative.
My family has made a committment to not passing up opportunities like this because Mom has MS, even though it may be more difficult on us. These moments and memories are as important for Mom as they are for us. They change things up, they are a break from her same routine and they get us all out of our comfort zone. I think in many ways conquering nights like these teaches me a lesson too. Just because you may encounter one minor setback doesn’t mean a domino effect of setbacks is about to occur. It is teaching me to keep my cool, to think quickly and calmly under pressure and to just live in the moment. Focus on Mom and focus on the fun. I need to tell any axiety inside to Beat It.
How do you react when you are stressed? How do you handle minor setbacks when you are in a situation where you have little control? Do you believe it is important to not let MS control our lives and continue doing the activities we want to do? Have you seen the Michael Jackson Immortal Tour?