Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Daddy Daddy

Joe was in a long line up. I would have been with him but the area was cramped and I didn't feel like having people towering above me. One of the shocks of becoming a wheelchair user is that my 6'1" frame is always folded down into a seated position so I went from being TALL to being not tall. Joe jokes, sometimes without much humour, that he never used to have difficulty finding me in a store but, now with my disability, he really has to search for me. So, didn't want to be there, and because I didn't have to be, I wasn't.

After only a few seconds of waiting, I indicated to Joe that I was going to go for a run. He nodded. I turned the chair and looked at the long stretch of the mall in front of me. There were few shoppers about, and I gave the wheels a shove and went on a joyride in my chair. I love it when I've got the space and the time to just fly in the chair. I'm no paralympian by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not slow either I can create breeze.

When I reached the end my muscles knew that they had worked. My chair is old and clunky and now has a very poor roll. My push isn't aided by the chair any more but that doesn't mean that the engine isn't able to make up for it. It took a second to get my breath and then I flew back. I was going so fast that I couldn't hear the words of those I passed by. People startled by a wheelchair passing them are sometimes unkind, the world turned upside down for a moment.

Joe was nearer the front of the line when I got back, panting, at the start point. It felt good. It felt good to have a run, it felt good to just enjoy the chair and the pushing and the work it took.

People misunderstand wheelchairs.

They misunderstand life in a wheelchair.

But not kids. The one comment that I heard as I passed a father and his little boy was, "Daddy, Daddy, I want one of those." his finger pointed solidly at my chair.


clairesmum said...

Sounds like fun....

Girl on wheels said...

Kids love wheelchairs, I really love that. I have two nieces who are now 2 and a half and 2, and they adore my chair. Although they call it my buggy! I have stickers on it and stars on the wheel spokes and pretty much every kid I encounter wants to look at them. I had one toddler who came over and just stroked my chair for twenty minutes with a huge grin on his face. However sometimes their parents won’t let them near me and that makes me really sad and frustrated. Those kids see me and they love my wheelchair, they are excited by it and then their parents drag them away or chastise them, and now instead of being cool and interesting I’m scary. The parents often think that they are doing the right thing, that they are teaching their child not to see disability. But all they are doing is adding stigma, and making disabled people even more isolated. I really don’t mind what kids ask me, I get that they are learning and I will always give them an appropriate answer. My nieces are going to grow up knowing that Auntie Sophie gets around on wheels, but that she can still chase them, dance with them and do anything else they want me to do. That makes me hopeful for the future.