"Mommy, someone asked me what it's like to have a mommy in a wheelchair."
My first gut reactions were who?! Why?! What?! Ask them what it's like to have a mommy who walks, wears glasses, is overweight, is annoying, etc.
But I calmly asked her who asked (one of her good friends) and what she thought/said.
She said, "I don't know. I don't know what it's like to have a walking mommy."
I like that answer!
Then we talked... what are the good parts and bad parts?
- Mommy can't jump out of the car and run anywhere. But mommy can wheel, and has a lap for when Lori gets tired and wants a ride.
- Lori, age 7, knows how to assemble and disassemble a wheelchair and can get the walker in the car (with some grunting) - not many 7 year olds can do that! Of course, it's annoying when mommy is tired and requests that Lori do it, rather than Lori volunteering.
- Lori gets to push mommy around when she wants - how many kids get to push their parents around? :)
- Lori probably gets to ski more than most 7 year olds. But she doesn't get to ski as much with her mommy, because Lori is already too good.
- (Beth's point of view) Lori goes to a show put on by people with disabilities. During the talkback, Lori asked "why do so many people in this play have disabilities?" She didn't realize everyone had a disability, or that people with disabilities can't get acting gigs like those without disabilities.
I suppose we'll have more of these talks. Last night was back to school night. My husband and I went to her classroom and it's set up for kids, so I couldn't get to her desk. For other people maybe it's no big deal, but stuff like that is a letdown for me. I want to be in the middle of it, not off to the side.
And in the past week, I've gone on a medicine which is helping me to walk further and it's giving me great strength. I feel like shouting this to the world. But it's invisible to most, who still see me in the wheelchair, because I'll still use it for long distances, and there are people who can't get past the wheelchair. And so Lori will still be asked, "What's it like?"
But maybe she can now add some of the benefits, like how she gets to "push me around." Or perhaps not. I'll walk more and more. "Never say I'll try. Say I will." (Byron Pitts)