Category Archives: Fluff

Not Thankful

Americans are wonderful at being competitive, even in their gratitude. That competition tends to warp off into this, ‘I’m-grateful-I don’t-have-it-as-bad-as-those-starving-people…’ yadda yadda.

Should our gratitude be dependent on being higher up the totem pole than some other poor shmoe? We all have problems. They are very real and powerful to each of us. This isn’t a competition. This is LIFE.

And I am grateful. I am grateful for a life that some people might point at and say, ‘I’m grateful I don’t have that life’. I’m grateful for my daughter, who is beautiful. Who, at ten years old, still loves to cuddle. Who makes people stop and stare. Who can go from screaming and crying to laughing with delight merely by hearing a song. Who has cerebral palsy. Who doesn’t move her arms or legs effectively. Who can’t speak. Who lights up my life and dominates my life with her existence. Who teaches me things nobody else ever could. I’m thankful, not because things could be worse – things can always, always be worse, and they can pretty much always be better. I am grateful for her in her entirety.

And I am thankful for my littlest girl. Who scares me to death with her fearlessness, and makes me so proud right at the same time. Who doesn’t walk places – she frolics. Who has been wearing the same tutu for two years now (I have washed it, I promise), and tells me she wants to be a ballerina doctor when she grows up. I don’t know what that means – I think I’ll sit back and watch what happens. She puts on a heck of a show.

My life wouldn’t be what it is without my babies. If you need to say, ‘I’m thankful my child doesn’t have cerebral palsy’, then go ahead. But please don’t say it to me. I’m thankful for my children. One of them has cerebral palsy. It’s part of the package. And I adore the package.

peace

Super Ballerina!

Can you hear me now?

My daughter does not have a hearing impairment.

Katie uses a wheelchair. She rarely speaks – when she does, it’s either ‘yeah’ or ‘oh no’. If she feels apprehensive, she cries and/or screams. She feels apprehensive a lot.

Her hearing is flawless.

People are frequently intimidated by Katie and her complex wheelchair. Some people just give her a wide berth. But more often people are falling all over themselves to display their acceptance. Yeah, it is kinda cool.

When people who don’t know Katie want her attention, they frequently get right down in her face. Then they shout.

“HI, KATIE! I’M SARAH!”

Well, alrighty then. Katie might engage with this behavior, but more likely she’ll try to turn away from them, or yell back, in her own fashion – I would, too.

Katie has limited ways of engaging with others socially. She has preferences in how she’s treated. She enjoys being with a group, if they respect her boundaries and do something she likes.

All of this means that she’s just like anybody else.

When was the last time you met someone new? Were you a little apprehensive? Not sure whether you should offer to shake their hand, wave, hug, whatever? You probably opted for the least invasive greeting. You probably did not get six inches from their nose and shout, “HI! I’M ANGIE!!!”

The response probably wouldn’t be positive.

People with disabilities can be a bit intimidating, but they are just people. Just like meeting a friend of a friend at a party, you need to watch for their cues. Do the social dance. My daughter dances very well. Assuming you don’t shout at her.

Is this how you treat everyone?
Is this how you treat everyone?