Saturday, March 8, 2008

What my disability means to my kids.

Ben and Shira have no memory of having a mom who was like everyone else. They are used to a mom who has osteonecrosis, who has to use crutches more often than not, who cannot run and jump, who is blind in her left eye and who has to wear dark glasses all the time because of a blown pupil.

I think I have the only kids in the world who beg their mom to use her disability Scootie to get around the neighborhood and to not use the van. We look like a little SE Asian family.
The three of us pile onto the Scootie and off we go around the neighborhood. The highlight of the trip is when I allow the children to do the steering and to beep the horn. The real treat is if I sit outside the garage and allow them to drive up and down the quiet road behind our house.

Scooties are wonderful things.

Shira and I have discovered that it is a huge amount of fun if I hold onto her while she's on her plasma car and I drive my Scootie at full speed (which is not very fast LOL). The Plasma Car is so much lower to the ground than the Scootie that the Scootie's top speed of 13 mph feels really fast.

My disability has turned them into activists. They were involved with my campaign to get handicap ramps built into the sidewalks in our neighborhood. You should hear them when they spy a sidewalk without a ramp. They become very indignant.

It's also forced them to become more responsible than other 6 year olds as they often have to be my legs and sometimes my eyes. We're lucky that we live in little old Norfolk. We're surrounded by independent stores, not big box stores. I can pull up outside the pharmacy and be comfortable that my child is safe while he goes inside to have a prescription filled as the pharmacist knows my family and I can see the door the entire time. Ben and Shira get a real kick out of having to sign their name in cursive when they pick up prescriptions.

They love doing a grocery shop at the Organic Food Depot. They make out the list at home and then do the shopping. The highlight of course, is getting to pay for the groceries.

I've noticed that they are so much more empathetic than most children their age. My heart swells with pride when I see them naturally holding open doors for people who need help, or offering to reach things on shelves. Better still, I love how they see no difference between a disabled person and a person who has full use of her body.

I started writing this blog post to try to find the positive things about having a disabled mom. I've been feeling exceedingly guilty for these past 6 weeks since I fell and broke part of my knee. I feel like I've short changed my kids because I am yet again stuck in bed and not able to do what I want to with them. However, as I wrote it, I realized that in a way my health problems has not been an issue as the three of us have worked ways around it and we still have loads of fun.


Beth said...

I found your post from the Disability Carnival, which I found purely by accident. I'm a disabled mom too, although I'm not (yet?) in a scooter (I'd probably be much better off with one, but I'm stubborn).
Anyway, thanks for this--sometimes I feel guilty because I can't do things other moms can do, but you reminded me of the things we DO have that other parents don't. Our kids make our lives so much richer!

Liz said...

Your kids sound so lovely!

I posted about this a little bit...

and here:

I thought you might like the posts.