I had decided to write this after Thanksgiving and not make it the post for that day.Here's why:
I noticed being noticed because I'm noticed all the time. But I was followed in a store by a mother and a boy of about 8. They were watching me grocery shop on Thanksgiving. Joe puts things in a cart, I put things in a bag behind me, then we empty my bag onto the cart for payment. It's a natural and easy process for us.
I had been over looking at the Tofurky roast when I noticed a 'new product' announcement for a Veggie Ham roast. I decided I'd like to try it and put it in the bag behind me. I turned the chair to face the boy who looked really, really, embarrassed. He didn't say anything but his mother's urging along with my curious expression brought the words out softly, "My mom wants to know if you celebrate Thanksgiving, being in a wheelchair and sad and all."
"Do I celebrate Thanksgiving," I responded. "Of course I do, I have so much to be thankful for. I told him that I wasn't sad to be in a wheelchair but that I was glad that I had one because I could shop like I was shopping. I asked him to guess why I was buying so much stuff. He guessed wrong, "Because you eat big meals?" I burst out laughing.
"That's part of it I said but it's because we have people coming over for dinner and my husband and I are cooking up a feast."
"You have a husband?" he asked.
That sent him feeling over to his mom, "He has a wheelchair and a husband mom, and he's not sad."
Would someone in a wheelchair celebrate thanksgiving? What a question. What assumptions made.
Yeah, we do.
The public perception of disability as a lonely, sad, life, is so strong and so enduring, I'm not sure why and I'm not sure who benefits, because someone does ... and it ain't us.