I forget all the time.
I wonder if that's normal.
Even when I'm in the wheelchair, I forget sometimes.
Years and years ago when I was a mere pup, I worked as a classroom aide with kids who had physical disabilities. I loved the job because the kids were great. There was an abundance of laughter in that room, I took the job because I had wanted to move to Toronto and wanted to work with those with intellectual disabilities. But jobs were scarce back then and I ended up in the school. All the while I kept looking for work in my chosen field.
What an eye opener it was to work there with those teens. Within seconds I realized that these were just teens who sat down. That's it. They were teens in every other aspect, their humour, their need to gossip, their giggles about boys and blushes about girls. While I did the stuff I was paid to do, lift, toilet, fetch and carry - we got to know each other.
Too well. Sometimes I'd be accompanying one of them to class, carrying something for them, and I'd open the door and let it slam in their face as they were wheeling behind me. I just forgot, for a moment, that they weren't walking and needed the door held. They always chided me for my error, threaten to call Children's Aide, it was another point of connection, of laughter.
When I got a job at a "Prevocational Center" I was sad to leave the students but pleased to be on my chosen journey. Now, as a wheelchair user, I'm so glad to have had that time in that classroom. To learn, first hand information that now is a blessing to me.
But what I remember most is that it's possible to forget. Forget disability. To be so wrapped up in something else that disability drops to the lowest rung of awareness.
"I have to remind myself every now and then that Kyle has Down Syndrome," a mother once said to me, I think she was surprised herself at the realization that Kyle wasn't going to be Down Syndrome every second of every day of his entire existance. I'm not sure that I understood her back then when she said it.
But I do now.
Because yesterday lying in bed having my back scratched as I read my book.