Right now Joe is rushing around getting things packed and ready. We leave our vacation paradise today, the kids and their Mom flew out yesterday, and we leave this morning. When we got back from dropping them off at the airport, we were quiet. The ride home was eerily silent, having two kids in the back of a van is very different than having no kids at the back of the van. But we got back in good order, Joe dropped the ramp and I scooted out.
It was over the next few minutes that I really noticed how easy the girls had made this vacation for me. This hotel is pretty accessible but it has no automatic push doors anywhere. I didn't really notice because they just took over the responsibility of getting the doors open and me through them. There were other things they did to help with the wheelchair, with my comfort in the chair and with ensuring that I got to where I was going.
It was like this great relationship where they gave what they had and I gave what I had and we all got to enjoy just hanging around together. They knew that when I supervised them at the pool there were more rules than when their mother or Joe did. They knew that when we went to the craft and activity area we went a different way, the accessible way. It was just so easy.
I'm glad they are so comfortable around the wheelchair and they know what it means and what it doesn't mean in relationship to me. I'm glad they think wheelchairs are cool even though they understand and can spot an access barrier at 50 paces. Their natural ease around me, with all my differences, and the wheelchair was disarming for several of those who shared the resort with us.
Yesterday morning when we were going over to the craft area, a father of a young boy, remarked to me as we passed by after the girls had opened the doors for me, "Those are amazing kids." I think they are amazing kids of course so I couldn't disagree. What makes them amazing though, is the fact that they are wonderful, caring, smart, kids who are uniquely themselves. Their care of me, their relationship with me, isn't remarkable, I don't think. My wheelchair doesn't make me different in their eyes, it makes me Dave. Their relationship is with me, Dave, who uses a wheelchair. It's natural, not exceptional.
We need to stop giving angelic qualities to those who relate to, who are in relationships with, who parent, who marry, people with disabilities. The suggestion of angelic qualities in one assumes the burdensome nature of the other.
Even with all that said, the hotel room seemed awfully empty when we got back. I would have given anything just to feel, the breeze from those angel's wings.