Friday, October 02, 2009
Seven days old.
Sadie and her family came to visit today. We shut down the computer and spent some quality time. We'd missed Ruby's 3rd birthday because we were on the road, the dress you see in the picture was one that we picked up in Ireland for her and she, little clotheshorse, loved wearing it. Though I love the posed picture that we have here of us with the wee one and the incredibly wee one, there is a picture we didn't take and that's the one I want to tell you about.
Ruby has known me since birth and that whole time I have been, simply me. That means of course many things. Ultimately it means that I'm a fair bit different from most people. As Ruby has aged she has begun to notice, and comment on various aspects of who I am and how I exist in the world. Last time she asked me about my wheelchair. Her questions are curious, not hostile, and I welcome them. 'Dave why don't you walk?' 'Because I can't walk.' 'Oh ... that's why the chair has wheels.' 'Yes.' 'OK.'
Simple questions and simple answers. I'm cool with all that. What I've worried about, because I am held hostage to insecurity, is that one day she will have to choose between valuing me and devaluing difference. Peer pressure, societal expectations, the need to conform being very, very strong, I wonder if one day I will lose. And it will, should it happen, hurt.
So today, she said to me, quietly as I was sitting here at my desk. 'You're different.' Those are only two words and they lead only to one of two directions. I said, 'Yes, I am.' That was it. Nothing more than statement and confirmation. I felt tears at the corner of my eyes. I always emotionally prepare for the worst. But then, suddenly, activity.
We were up and out for lunch. We discovered wonders at the dollar store. We went to the mall for a walk and a bit of shopping. As we headed over toward the elevator to go downstairs Ruby came up beside me and took my hand. I drove along side of her and she held on tight. New places don't scare her but she likes to know that she's safe. My hand, apparently, was the one that made everything OK.
I heard Mike say to Marissa, 'That would make a wonderful photo.' But I asked him not to take it. I decided that the photo would change the moment. From something natural to something posed. From something different, to something ordinary.
I guess I need to start believing that love is a little tougher, a little stronger and a little more durable than I have come to believe.