A taste of things to come…

Enjoying the swings

Enjoying the swings

What should have been a fun family outing gave me a sad taster of things to come with my own children when I went to our local theme park with James, Sophia, Granny, Poppa, nephews and niece recently. I was standing near the front of the line for the park’s main roller coaster ride with my nephews and niece when a mother and her two children and carer came through the fast queue area a few meters in front of us. The mother, through sign language, told her youngest child to wait 5 minutes with the carer. Although slightly distressed that his mum was leaving him, the excitement of her other son outweighed the mum’s concerns and after a minute or so of placating, she and her older son took their place at the front of our line to have their ride.

Fantastic, I thought, seeing a vision of my family’s future being able to accommodate both children at a theme park, knowing it will be a challenge to find outings that both can find enjoyable and accessible in the future.

The carriages pulled in, barriers opened for the people in front of us to go through and the attending youth chatted to the mother and her son momentarily and then refused them entry. Refused them entry? I couldn’t believe it. The son was crestfallen as the mum tried to explain to the attendant that they couldn’t wait ¾ of an hour in the main queue with her other child, it just wasn’t possible. Her pleading obviously fell on deaf ears as, very dejectedly, they left the area.

It was shocking how fast the tears sprang to my eyes and I had to turn my back on my nephews and niece a moment to hold myself in check. As soon as we reached the front barrier I asked what had happened and the attendant said it was because the child with the special pass wasn’t riding the rollercoaster. And you can only use the special pass to queue jump as a group if the person with the pass is going on the ride. My heart plummeted for the poor brother who was desperate to go on the ride (and for flashing thoughts of James’s future). “No-one would have minded if you’d let them through.” I told him. The youth looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s nothing to do with me, it’s the park’s policy.” And he turned away as I shouted “It’s a crap policy then” in a very mature manner of which I am immensely proud (cough).

And this was after I’d had an argument with a woman on a water ride who complained that a boy and his companion had had three goes in the time she’d been in the queue with her son and I’d tried to kindly explain about the disability pass he was wearing which allowed him to queue jump, thinking she didn’t know about it. She let out a couple of very base profanities in front of her teenage son and my precious 6 year old who didn’t need to hear such rantings. I asked her that surely she couldn’t begrudge him a few extra rides considering the rest of his life was probably incredibly difficult? Huphily she retorted that she had friends with disabled children so she knew all about it. “Well you should know better than to complain then, shouldn’t you!” I retorted (actually I almost spat the words back at her, completely revolted by her attitude).

I think I have to learn to hold my tongue and try and not let situations affect me as much or else I’m going to spend my life in tears at the injustices of the every day, or get beaten up for mouthing off to the wrong person!

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