Sunday, April 08, 2012

Walk and Roll

Parking is way cheaper at our apartment than it is at the hotel so Joe and Mike headed off with the van as Marissa, Sadie, Ruby and I strolled home. Ruby held on to my arm and Sadie, wanting to be like her big sister, walked a step behind, also holding on to my arm. This wasn't going to work so we arranged for Ruby to be on one side, Sadie on the other, and we headed up Yonge Street. We took up a fair bit of the sidewalk, and when Marissa walked beside us all, we took up the whole thing.

We stopped an looked in several windows. Sadie tried to feed a plastic carrot to an Easter Bunny mask and found the whole thing hugely amusing, she still has the little kid laugh that charms everyone - even grumpy shop owners. Ruby, after a block or two, broke free and wandered ahead a little bit, loving the freedom and Independence that 5-year-olds experiment, but also loving being close enough to be safe. Sadie, held firmly to my hand the whole way.

We stopped at the window of one of our favourite shops on Yonge street, Reflections, and Ruby and Sadie looked at all the brooches and we made a game out of finding various brooches in various shapes. We huddled around the window and peered in at the sparkling array. Watching the kids totally absorbed in what they were doing was the most fun of all. We broke from the window and just before arriving home, met up with Joe and Mike, who had just parked the van.

It's only a few blocks from hotel to apartment and I've made that walk hundreds of times with Joe. I love the bustle of Yonge Street but we seldom really stop to look in store windows or feed plastic carrots to bunny masks. I don't know why - it's fun. But what really marked the occasion for me was how people responded to seeing little children so firmly attached to my arm or my hand as we walked up the street. As the kids were wearing Easter Bunny ears and as they were so obviously having a terrific time, their presence and their joy at just being there, with me, together, seemed to make some kind of statement.

I'm not sure what.

But there were glances and smiles from those who noticed the bunny ears, there were smiles and glances from those who saw kidlets attached to the wheelchair, and there was a bit of surprise in every pair of eyes. Surprise maybe that I was loved, or that I was 'of this world' enough to be attached to children, or at the very ordinariness, or the extraordinary ordinariness, of a family walking and rolling along Yonge Street together.

I'm not sure.

But what I am sure of was this: the feeling of tiny hands holding mine is the best way to start the Easter weekend.


Kristin said...

Walking with small children, feeling their hands in yours, is a pretty phenomenal way to start any weekend.

Flemisa said...

Being a Mother, I would say the surprise was to see two very happy children not dashing around in everyone's way. They certainly sound as very well behaved children!

How lucky they are to have someone who will take the time to look at the things they are interested in. To not just want to get from A to B in the quickest possible manner.

Here's too many more happy memories this Easter.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave and Joe:

Wishing you many more Easter Blessings.


Susan said...

What a great picture in my mind's eye... you four strolling down Yonge St., stopping at Reflections, admiring the brooches with four sets of shining eyes... and Mike and Joe meeting up with you from the other direction.

Sigh. Happy Easter, happy family!

Tamara said...

Happy Easter to you and yours, Dave! Enjoy your day!

John R. said...

Little hands as described are the fingers and palms of God...that is as religious as I get!! But it is true!
I know because when I hold my daughter's hands, I feel as close to God as possible!

Happy Easter!!

Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

Like John R, I believe that to hold a small child's hand in mine is the closest thing to touching God.

Yesterday, my three-year-old niece slipped her hand into mine as we set off for a post-dinner stroll through the woods at my in-laws' farm. It was the first time she has ever wanted MY hand to hold, as she usually prefers her mum's.

Best Easter present EVER.

Great post, Dave!

Anonymous said...

the best!!!!!

Anonymous said...

There’s a tv programme showing in the uk on channel four at the moment, the strapline says 'People living with challenging conditions are often considered 'undateable' - this series meets a few and follows their attempts to find love’. Critics have pointed to ‘crass’ and ‘unhelpful’ aspects of the show. This post has brought me to realise a painful assumption that is maybe not named in the programme (so far at least), that disabled people are unloveable. I think this gets buried in discussions about seeing people with disabilities as asexual. I think discussions about love and loving are sadly missing from disability writing that I know of, but love is central to the activism.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Love. I agree anonymous. The idea of a disabled child as a loveable child - instead of a burden requiring a lawsuit - is still a radical thought. To see someone with a disability woven into the fabric of a loving family is a surprise to many. I wrote about love as a political act a few days ago and I still see it thusly.

Ettina said...

"The idea of a disabled child as a loveable child - instead of a burden requiring a lawsuit - is still a radical thought."

And yet that's the one kind of love people find it easiest to imagine a disabled person getting. Being a friend, a romantic partner, a parent - those are even more radical.

liz said...