Jeremy Landry is a Motion Composites brand ambassador. He’s a passionate and active young man whose life motto is to live life to its fullest. He recently became a father and we had the opportunity to have a chat with him about the joys of fatherhood and the challenges that come with it.
By Jeremy Landry - Published June 19th, 2020
MAKING FUN A PRIORITY
Jeremy has always been a thrill seeker. Now in his mid-twenties, he met his girlfriend a few years ago and 1-year old Jaden joined the family not too long after. They are living north of Montreal, close to nature, and Jeremy keeps busy with various sports and activities. Currently a stay-at-home dad, he shares his experience of fatherhood with us.
What was your main motivation to become a dad?
I’ve always wanted a kid! It was always clear in my mind! My parents were in their early twenties when they had me and I feel lucky to have been raised by young and active parents. At a very early age, my dad initiated me to all kinds of activities such as fishing, jet skis, snowmobiles and many more. We had a great relationship and I wanted to have a kid as soon as I could to enjoy a similar bond.
I have to admit, secretly, I really wanted a boy. When we learned that we were having a son, I was ecstatic I would be able to follow in my father’s footsteps and have the possibility for that kind of relationship. I’m also thankful that I’ll be able to go on a fishing trip with my grand father, my dad and my boy.
Have you ever thought that your condition could get in the way of being a dad?
Yes, and I would say the doubts are always on my mind. You often ask yourself if you’re going to be up to the challenge. Sometimes it’s harder on the spirit when I think of the things I might not be able to do with my son, such as teaching him how to ride a bike when he’s older. But I know I can bring so many positive aspects into his life also. He already knows how to get around in my wheelchair for example! I have a lot of support: I’m lucky to have a great circle of friends, a wonderful girlfriend and I’m very close to my family. The journey of fatherhood is filled with trial and errors! With or without a wheelchair, it’s a lot of adaptation for any parents.
Regarding the highs and lows, what were the strong moments of your first year as a dad?
Magical little moments like laying down for a nap with my son, his first swim and, of course, his first steps. It’s funny to see him try to climb on my wheelchair using the footrests. He really wants to ride it! I’d also say that to see him grow and develop every day, it’s a blessing and it goes by so fast!
And about being a “dad on wheels”, what were the biggest challenges of that aspect?
Some activities are harder or more restrictive than others like swimming for example. I can’t swim alone with my son. We spend a lot of time on our boat during the summer and I’m always nervous about taking it alone with my son. If the worse happened and he fell into the water I wouldn’t hesitate to jump in to save him but I always wonder if I would be fast enough and if I would be able to save him.
Another challenge was to get in the car when I’m alone with Jaden but I ended up adapting really well. I have to think about diapers, clothes and everything needed for a baby. I sit my son in the back of the car, I transfer to the driver’s seat and I bring my chair in and make sure its safely secured for the trip. I developed my skills over time and managed to learn some tricks to help me.
How did being a father change your active lifestyle?
I had to slow down a little bit for sure but I would say it’s more about making some adjustments to your life. It means things like hanging out with friends a little bit less and spending more time with my family.
What kind of activities are you doing with your son and your family?
Since we own a boat, we spend a lot of time on the lake near our home. I initiated Jaden very early on, he was only five days old when we took him out on his first boat ride. I think he inherited my passion for motors, he loves the sound of an engine! When I bring him to the garage, he tries to get on my motocross or my snowmobile and he makes engine noises with his mouth. He recently had his first rides on a jetski and ATV. Other than that, I have a handbike and we love family rides with Jaden. I’m trying to progressively get him into fishing and, next winter, I’d like to share my passion for ski with him.
Which values are you trying to pass on to your son?
Generosity and consideration of others. I want him to understand that it’s important to be mindful of people around you and to help out whenever possible. I’d like to teach him to be a good citizen and not be self-centered. I also want him to understand that it’s important to have fun and enjoy life without paying too much attention to some people who might try to slow him down.
Do you have any parenting advice for dads and future dads of the Motion Composites community?
Don’t give up and don’t be afraid! There’s a solution for everything. It’s not harder to be a father when you are in a wheelchair, it’s just different and it requires adaptability.
How do Motion Composites’ wheelchairs contribute to your daily life as a father?
I’m lucky to own both an APEX C and a VELOCE. There’s no doubt the lightness and efficiency of these wheelchairs are both helping me daily. I particularly enjoy my VELOCE because it’s foldable and easy to fit inside the car because of it’s lightness. It greatly reduces the efforts needed for propulsion which is practical when I need to carry Jaden around with all kinds of baby stuff. It can quickly get overwhelming. So using lightweight wheelchairs is a major advantage. Overall, a lighter wheelchair gives me ability to be faster and more efficient. It makes it easier on my body and it simplifies my life as a father.
And before we go, what would you say you are most grateful for now that you are a dad?
Simply to have the opportunity to live all those moments as a father!