After finding out that the van we had ordered likely wasn’t coming quickly, if at all, we went on a hunt for yet another option. It was a Friday when I was told and that evening was spent scouring the world wide web for something that would accommodate our boy. NOTHING was posted for sale anywhere. But we knew there was little chance of finding a van already converted to accommodate William or even a bare-bones unit that we could adapt for him – we were always checking inventory at the hopes of finding something so it wasn’t surprising that this evening’s search came up with nothing. We finally went to bed.

As I laid in bed, I just felt exhausted and resentful.

The exhaustion from the constant uphill climb fighting every little thing is grueling.

And I resented every part of having to make this van purchase – the cost, the time, the need for it in the first place, the market and how its monopolized by Amazon and the reality that our world just isn’t designed to support children like mine.

My brain swirled for a long time before I fell asleep and then I was up again with the birds.

I guess Bear was up with the birds too because he wasn’t next to me. So I took the time to hatch out of bed and appreciate that he’d let me wake up on my own terms. I walked out to the kitchen to my coffee waiting and Bear back on his phone hunting for a needle in a haystack. As soon as he saw me he said, “I found one, wanna come see?” I thought he was kidding but his face was dead serious. It felt too good to be true but sure enough it had been posted that morning – it was as if angels had hugged us through the night and gave us a gift.

By the end of the day, we had put a deposit on the van, booked flights to Saskatoon, rearranged caregiver schedules and made plans for the girls’ care so that we could make the trip to get the van. Through the week, we made sure that the van was in good shape, had our contact at the conversion place take a look at it to make sure everything was working and then did all the paperwork.

We flew out early Saturday morning, went straight to the dealership, signed papers and then turned right around for the 17 hour drive back to the island. It was a long haul but the high from finding this van kept smiles on our faces.

All this time we were aware that we needed the van but we needed it more than we even knew – William needed it more than we knew! He loves going out anywhere and now he can. No one is in a sweat from loading him, he isn’t upset, he doesn’t get worked up and puke, he isn’t crying, it doesn’t take multiple attempts or so much time that we have to cancel the outing and he isn’t exhausted from just getting in the van. Finally my boy gets to go – rugby games, dinners out, Mother’s Day celebration, the lake, running errands and even just going for a drive. And we have been able to attend all scheduled medical appointments because I haven’t had to cancel any.

It feels like William, his care team and our family have been gifted with a new level of freedom and access to our community. It’s a reminder that accessibility matters and every human being deserves the chance to experience a full and included life.

Hearing his sisters say, “Is William gonna come too?” melts my heart.

It’s been years of not being able to easily take him out and hearing them ask reminds me that they feel the missing piece too, when he doesn’t come.

I don’t think we could have made this van happen any quicker but there is absolutely no reason it took so long. This was a challenge that Bear and I finally conquered.

~ Keely

Keely is an author and advocate for children living with disabilities. She lives on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, with her husband, her son William who has cerebral palsy, her two daughters and several four-legged friends.