Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A Visitor Comes To Ruby's School

Image description: A blackboard, surrounded by an orange border with the alphabet inscribed on it and with an apple and a pencil at the bottom right corner. On the blackboard in white letters are the words SCHOOL DAYS.
I was on the phone to her mother when Ruby arrived home from school. She called out, "Is that Dave and Joe?" Her mother told her that it was and, I think, was just as curious as to why Ruby was so excited. A call from us isn't uncommon but her excitement over it was. She came rushing on the phone.

She started, "I told my teacher about your blog!" she said, and then stopped herself. We've been playing this game for quite a while now, as I am a story teller, and the girls like hearing 'Ruby' stories, or 'Sadie' stories ... I want them to tell me stories too. So without even prompting, Ruby took a pause and told me a story.

"At school today we had a visit from a boy and his mom. He had a disability and he talked to us about what happened to him. He had something happen to his brain and he was in a coma for a long time. Now he has some tubes and he told us about how the tubes have to be changed really fast when he goes to bed. His mother was there too and she showed us how some of the things worked. He was really nice and it was fun to listen to him. When it was over, I told my teacher that you had a blog and that you write about being in a wheelchair. I told her that she should check out your blog and that she can even watch you get married. She said that she would read your blog."

So, in the happenstance that you are visiting to read my blog, welcome Ruby's teacher.

Ruby and I talked a bit more with Sadie filling in from the background. She was really glad that they had had a visitor come to the school and to talk about disability. I remembered back to Ruby's first day of school, when she went to Junior Kindergarten. I asked her that day if there were any kids in her class who used wheelchairs. She sighed a deep sigh and said with great disappointment, "No they all just walk." Ruby likes and welcomes diversity and notices it's lack.

It was a fun phone call, I was pleased and proud that she wanted the teacher to read my blog and that she recognized that the young boy in her classroom, talking for himself about his disability and me here writing this blog about my disability are members of the same community. That she sees the community and sees the connection pleases me no end. So many refuse to acknowledge the community, the kinship and the connection between disabled people - even many with disabilities, that her immediate, without question, ability to see how what that boy did there and what I do here are connected.

We rung off with Ruby's excitement in my ear.

Congratulations to the school for creating this opportunity for their students and for their visitor. Congratulations to the boy's mom and if I may speak to you for a second let me tell you why ... because Ruby spoke of you and your voice too but primarily she spoke of your son and how he represented himself, that is remarkable parenting.

Change comes.


clairesmum said...

A wonderful true story!

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

Get them while they're young - and there may be hope for the human race after all.

A beloved grandfather, a friend in a wheelchair, a sibling who has CF - these are normal events - if they're spoken about by the parents as normal events.

And not hidden by the 'authorities.'

One strong little human there.