Sunday, October 14, 2012
(Description of Image: A child's drawing on a piece of lined paper. The words 'I love you' are at the top. Four people are represented in the picture, a big man in a wheelchair, a little girl with long hair, another man with a moustache and another little girl with shorter hair.)
(Click on image to see larger version.)
I was sitting in the car while Joe and Marissa were transferring stuff from our car to hers. We had said our goodbyes to Ruby and Sadie and had received big hugs. We'd all gone to a movie and had stopped for tea and treats afterwards. We wanted to chat with the kids about our upcoming trip and let them know we were going to be gone for a month. Children experience time differently than adults and we wanted to be clear that we weren't dropping out of their lives. We will be chatting with them less frequently and certainly wouldn't be seeing them for a long stretch. Ruby wanted to know exactly where we were going to be and she got really excited that our plane was going to land in the same city that the Queen lives in. "Does she know that her face is on our money?" Ruby wanted to know and we assured her that she did.
Anyways, we'd brought up some stuff from the states, including two big boxes of Hugs which the kids adore, mostly for the shape of the bottles. So, goodbyes said, I was in our car as the last of the boxes and bags were transferred to theirs. Joe came back with a drawing that Ruby had sat doing while the transfer was happening. You will have no difficulty determining which of the two adults is me, given my wheelchair and Joe's moustache, of course, and that's Ruby between us and Sadie on the other side of Joe.
Joe said that just before he left Ruby had called him over. She had drawn three lines on her pad of paper. She wanted him to write down the date we leave, the date we come back and the number of days that we will be away. She wanted to have a clear understanding of our trip and knowing when she can expect to see us again. I told him that as he was busy doing that, I was sitting staring at this little piece of note paper, The wonderful portrait of him and I and the two kids. I loved how we were united under a banner proclaiming that we are loved. I also like that my size and my wheelchair are just simply part of the picture. It reassures me somehow that Ruby doesn't normalize me in this representation. It means that she sees me, as I am, and loves me, as I am. That matters.
It mattered even more as I have spent my life working towards a day where we can all see each other, respect each other, honour each other's difference. A lifetime working towards the natural inclusion that could come if we would only have it come. Ruby gave us a gift, to remember her and her sister by, but she also gave me a glimpse of what could be - and that make me want to do, what I do and fight the fights I have to fight, even more.
We have a piece of paper now.
With three lines on it.