On our way to our next hotel, we stopped to visit with Mike and family in Ottawa. As it happened it was Ruby's first full day of school. She had been for a couple of hours one day two weeks ago and then a half day last week, then it was on to a full day. We knew we'd arrive just before she got out from school and Joe was happily planning for us to go with Mike to pick Ruby up. Her school is virtually across the street so it was handy.
I kept quiet because I didn't want to say what I was thinking. I'm writing this now, nervously, afraid of admitting what I'm about to admit. I decided not to go with them to pick her up. My reasoning? Well, I'm fat. I'm disabled. I'm nobody's poster child for physical beauty. Now, shut up, don't go all 'don't be so negative about yourself, inside you are beautiful'. Notice no one ever tells pretty people, the nice ones, how beautiful they are inside? Anyways ... Ruby loves me, accepts me and sees me as valued.
Her friends won't.
They will see her innocently run up to me and leap into my arms, as she does every time we see each other. This will give them something to hold over her head. Something to taunt her about. I didn't want to become a source of pain for her. I didn't want her to have to defend me - though she'd done that in the past. I didn't want to interfere with her socialization and acceptance of a new peer group. I love that kid and there are sacrifices you make when you love someone - mine was to wait in the apartment until she got home and hear her stories then.
The door opened and she ran to me, stopped when she saw presents on the floor waiting for her, then she refocused and came right over for a hug. As we drove to the restaurant for dinner, I asked her if any of the kids in her class were in wheelchairs like me.
'No,' she sighed a big sigh, 'they all only walk.'
'Well, poor them,' I thought, and then, quickly stole Ruby's nose. It was only fair, she had my heart after all.