Three grandparents, a toddler, a pregnant lady, and a guy in a wheelchair travel to Las Vegas for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. A new reality TV show coming this fall on Fox perhaps? Tune in next week to see who’s voted off! Tribal council says: so long “guy in a wheelchair!” Sounds more interesting to me than America’s Next Top Pathetic Excuse For Primetime. Or at least it would if I wasn’t said wheelchair guy.
Anyway, we had an absolute blast at the telethon. What an incredible production. It's how I imagine MDA summer camp: a hugely intense, surreal experience, far from home, meeting tons of great people, feeling a range of emotion and becoming friends with virtual strangers, and before you know it, you're on a plane back home to everyday life. We're still going through a bit of withdrawal. Where else in the world are people in wheelchairs treated like royalty?
At first it seemed odd to me that the telethon would broadcast from Las Vegas. I mean, Sin City and Jerry’s kids? But after being there, it made perfect sense. Not only because of the entertainment connection, but because at its best, Vegas is about hope. Maybe it’s a little desperate and misguided, but many people go there with the hope of making their lives better. Just like we did.
Oddly enough, we already had some hopeful news to share. If you happened to miss our profile and interview, you may be unaware that we announced Kirsten is pregnant. That’s right. P-R-E-G-N-A-N-T. As in expecting, with child, in a delicate way, knocked-up even. So let’s dispense straight away with some of the questions you may have. No, it was not an accident. If you know us at all, that one is a no-brainer. Yes, we did it the old fashioned way. I may be disabled, but it’s simply a matter of logistics people. And yes, we are indeed a bit crazy. But that’s nothing new. Life had just become a little too boring and unchallenging lately.
That isn’t to say we didn’t struggle with our decision. We’ve been grappling with it for the past three years, for all the obvious reasons. But as with most people who decide to have more kids, love overcame rational thought. Family is what we live for. And whether I’m around or not, we want our children to have a strong sense of belonging, a base from which to build their lives, and someone to rely on for unconditional love. I read a quote not long ago that helped me see things more clearly: “Bringing a child into the world is the greatest act of hope there is.”
But hope does not require justification. In fact, this is the last time I will offer any. We expected varying reactions to our news, and we got them. Some confused, some hesitant, but overall very positive. Just as I prefer people to laugh at my morbid humor, we’d prefer people be happy and excited for us. Frankly though, we’re a little nervous and scared too. Ultimately, this is our way of refusing to let ALS dictate how we live our lives, of keeping our hopes and dreams as a family going. Indeed, hope often feels like the only way forward.