I begin by whining.
With the new legislation in Ontario mandating that all people with intellectual disabilities be provided abuse prevention training, I've been busy. Well, all of Vita's abuse prevention team has been busy, but ... this is about me. We are all travelling a lot and doing training after training after training. Don't get me wrong, it's a real honour to be doing train the trainer sessions, it's a privilege to be part of the solution to the problem of abuse. It truly is and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've spoken to Vita's other trainers and we all agree.
Back to whining.
The 'but' here is that it's like life has become about 'abuse' and 'abuse prevention' twenty four seven. While we are working on solutions, on PREVENTION, the topic is still an ugly one. It's about people misusing power, people betraying trust, people hurting people. You can't teach the 'how' of 'no' without the 'why' of 'no'. And sometimes, just sometimes, I get worn down and dispirited. I begin to notice my energy flag and my enthusiasm dim. This is a kind of selfishness and self centeredness that I am a bit ashamed of - however I am human and sorrow and hurt affect me.
Today, though, we drove into Ottawa where I will be training several agencies in abuse prevention. In doing so 60 people with disabilities and just over 30 staff will be trained. It's a big job. I'm looking forward to it, because, beside the work ... Ottawa means family. We had already arranged for us all to get together for breakfast on Saturday and spend the day together. On our way to the hotel we stopped off to see Mike, Marissa, Ruby and Sadie for a few seconds. We had things in the trunk to drop off.
I sat in the car and watched them all come down the ramp. Ruby came down dancing. She was so excited. Normally she goes right to the truck to see what wonders lay within but this time she came over and climbed in the drivers seat and said that she wanted to pretend to drive the car. She did this for a second and then leaned back and started chatting with me. She brought me up to date on school, her friends and her teachers. We played silly games and laughed a lot. I kept asking if she was sure she didn't want to go and see what was in the trunk, 'No, I'll stay here,' she said.
So they took everything up stairs and Ruby, again, stayed in the car with me. We made a toy out of a hanger and wrestled for it and hit each other with it (gently and in fun of course). Ruby laughed her big laugh, the one that consumes her as she tricked me time and again. When her 'ninja reflexes' as she calls them, avoided my attempts to get her. The game wound down and she sat again and talked.
When her mom and dad and Joe came back downstairs, she knew it was time for her to go upstairs and for us to go to the hotel. I told her, seriously, that I really enjoyed her getting in the car and having time to talk with her. She smiled and then gave me a big hug, 'I like it when you come to visit,' she said. I told her I did too. She asked me why, I told her it was because I missed her and her family and it did my heart good to see them and be with them. She thought about it a second and then gave me another hug. I laughed and said 'What's that for?' She said, 'In case your heart needs it sometime and I'm not there.'
We drove into the hotel and I found myself feeling much different about the days to come, the weeks to come. I know that when I get tired, when I get a little despairing that I've got an extra hug stored up - for when I need it.
And you know what?
I am tremendously proud of niece Shannon's writing. Her gift is substantial. When she was a wee girl I helped her get a poem published in the newspaper and I've been a fan ever after. She has written a blog post that I thought managed to be very, very funny and yet still have something (or indeed many things) to say. If you've a mind to and the time to ... drop over and visit Half Soled Boots. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.