Halfway to Ohio

For Namine’s fifteenth birthday, we took her and her cousin on a trip to see Fiona the hippo, visit an aquarium, and more!

At Namine’s birthday party, we surprised her with a vacation to Ohio, the highlight of which would be seeing Fiona the hippo and her brother Fritz. There would be other sights as well, but Fiona has held a special place in Namine’s heart ever since Namine first learned about her premature birth.

We were driving, not flying, which meant a stop halfway (or thereabouts). The drive was “only” (picture me doing finger quotes) eight hours, which my family definitely did on road trips when we drove to Florida to my grandparents’ condo.

Speaking of those childhood road trips: when my grandpa drove us, he would drive until late into the night and stop whenever he decided he didn’t want to drive anymore. We, however, have to plan things out a little more. With Namine being in a wheelchair and accessible room availability being limited, we have to reserve rooms ahead of time.

Our final destination hotel didn’t have a pool, but the hotel at our halfway point did. Though our room was accessible, even the pool’s limited accessibility was not functional. It was a normal pool, with steps on one end and a ladder on the other. There was a lift, but it was missing the remote to actually… make it work.

I asked Namine if she still wanted to go swimming, even though it meant more climbing on her part. She said yes, of course! Climbing out of her wheelchair and down the steps posed no problem at all. After we were done in the pool, Namine climbed up the steps again and, after I placed the towel on the floor, was able to climb back into her chair. It wasn’t as difficult as it normally is, since we had removed her cushion. (We didn’t have the means to dry it at the hotel.)

After we checked out of the hotel, we went to breakfast before hitting the road again. Namine got a stack of cupcake pancakes in lieu of her traditional birthday cake breakfast.

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