When we pulled into the disabled parking spot, she was already out of her car, in her chair and being pushed by her son. I only noted that they were talking and laughing, clearly anticipating the movie they were there to see. I got myself into my chair and rolled over to the curb cut, which is in poor shape and I need to go backwards over. Joe helped me and moments later we were in the theatre lobby. Joe went to get tickets and I hung around people watching.
I saw the woman in the wheelchair tense up and then heard why. Someone was going on about the "poor kid" and about how unfair it was that he was supporting her rather than the other way around. She said nothing, so I followed her lead. She was joined moments later by her husband and a younger son, they had come in different cars.
They were in the line for popcorn right in front of us and they were all struggling to decide what to have. It's amazing how difficult that can be for two little boys. Then, the younger boy took hold of the back of his mom's chair and pushed hard towards the theatre. I found out later that there was only one wheelchair spot in there and they headed to get it first. I understood, had I known, I'd have done it too. Just before the lights went down hubby and son came in laden with stuff to drink and to eat.
During the previews I thought about that statement, the one that hurt her, "that poor kid." I imagine if they'd known there was another child it would have been "those poor children." Sometimes I just don't know what people see when they see people with disabilities in relationship to the other people, or even, to the world. I don't know how she couldn't see a mother and a child helping each other out, a mother and child having fun together, a family supporting each other. A loving husband, a loving wife, loving parents and loving kids, how does that become "those poor kids?"
When the movie was over I went to the washroom and just after I closed the stall door, Dad and one of the kids came in. They were talking about going grocery shopping and what they needed. The boy didn't want to go, it wouldn't be, in the child's opinion, any fun. Dad then said, "How about I ask your mom to give you and your brother rides on her scooter when we're there?" The kid was immediately into it, "YEAH!"
"Nice kids," I said to the fellow who was washing his hands in the sink next to me. He beamed and said, "Great kids, they're great kids, we are so lucky." His pride in his children but the obvious inclusion of his wife in the 'we' spoke of his love of her and his pride in her as a parent.
"Those poor kids," went to a movie, with their family. They helped and were helped out. They obviously loved being all together.
I'll tell you the man or woman in the future that the boys marry are going to be very lucky. To have respect and helpfulness, kindness and reciprocity bred into their DNA from being needed in such a tangible way, to learn so young that their hands are never helpless and can always be helpful ... is an amazing start to life.
Here's to more "poor children" learning love as a practical thing you do as part of our world and our communities. Here's to children and families who find love and keep it strong.
They were the best example of what this season is all about. Love. Generosity of Spirit. Commitment. Kindness. Helpfulness. Love.
I just saw that I wrote "Love" twice by accident.
I'm leaving it that way.
To those who celebrate it: Merry Christmas!
To those who celebrate the festival of lights: Happy Hanukkah!
To those who celebrate Kwanzaa: Habari Gani?
To everyone else: Happy Holidays!