Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just Breathe . . .

First, let me just get this out of the way . . . I'm not going to say anymore what this blog is going to be about. I'm not going to apologize for sad or angry posts - or messages about my job or disabilities or anything else. I'm not even sure why I felt the need to say that . . . but, I'm going to start there. This is my life - my journal. There are ups and downs and phases and good times and bad. It doesn't mean I always cry or am always sad or frustrated. It is what it is.

I was browsing through some other sites again today by other families that I don't personally know - but, I feel so close to - because they have children with Spina Bifida. A drippy, delicious wrap in my left hand, I was prepared to soak in some updates over lunch . . . hopefully the kind that leave me feeling uplifted and renewed.

And, I read these two stories . . .

Over the past weekend, a young mom was at a small play area in a mall with her three-year-old son and his walker. She sat nearby as he began crawling and exploring. Suddenly, another father walks over, picks up the walker, and deposits it outside of the play area and says nothing. The mother - avoiding confrontation - go gets the walker and brings it back. And, then a few minutes later she's confronted with two security guards who insist the walker must be removed . . . thereby making it impossible for her son to do anything but crawl. Despite being frustrated to tears and defending her son's case to the guards, she ultimately remained (without the walker) to allow her son to continue playing . . . because she wanted to spare his feelings as he was blissfully unaware.

Another mom wrote back to this woman and explained that her family had been waiting in line at an amusement park and finally was nearing the front. A ride operator came over and denied her son access to the ride because he couldn't walk. It was a normal roller coaster - where you sit the entire time. There were no reasons or even explanations that he could provide, no warning signage. And, no feelings spared there.

A few weeks ago, Jeff was at Costco during the day with the kids. Gavin has been so proud to take his walker and move around the store all by himself. He moves deliberately and with much effort. And, luckily, he is - as of yet - unaware of the stares and background glances that he receives. As they were on their way out of the store, a woman literally barrelled over Gavin and his walker with her shopping cart. Yes, accidents happen. The problem was - she barely stopped. She muttered barely an apology. And, somehow, Jeff restrained himself enough that he didn't punch her. And, I give him a lot of credit - because I might have.

Just yesterday when I was chatting with Jeff on the phone, the kids were outside playing in the yard. He repeated a conversation that Gavin and Autumn were having.

Autumn said, "Gavin, Hallie can walk now - all by herself. Isn't
that great?"

Gavin looks slightly confused and says, "How?"

Autumn says with the innocence of a five-year-old, "With a lot of
practice. She can walk now. Don't you wish that you had legs that
didn't have so many surgeries so you could walk, too?"

It breaks my heart.

All I can do is just take a deep breath. Because to teach my son to handle his experiences with wit and charm and to be his own advocate, I'm going to have to learn to do the same thing first.

1 comment:

  1. This post chokes me right up. Where in the world has compassion gone to? It makes me so mad and sad all at the same time. I probably would have punched that Costco lady right in the face-I dream about stuff like this now that I'm a mom. I know... I probably shouldn't admit that, but really! Gavin is a sweet, PERFECT soul!