message from my mom

My husband’s grandma unexpectedly passed away this spring. It was heartbreaking and my first experience of losing a grandparent. I first met her when I was 16 and she watched me grow up and graduate high school, marry her grandson, finish college, land my first “real” job and have our sweet baby. I hate that she’s gone. Continue reading

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shoes, shoes, shoes

After I wrote my Clubfoot Stinks post I had an epiphany. Rather than spending time grumbling about how shoes don’t work, I needed to take some time to see what WILL work. 

So I googled Shoe Tailor and Shoe Repair and found a business literally 5 minutes from my house. I packed up a few pairs shoes that I loved but could not wear (the realistic ones that actually stood a chance with a few tweaks) and figured it wouldn’t hurt to see what could be done.

I drove my bag down to this local business and walked the owner through my shoe dilemma.  I won’t lie. It was humbling. Even greater, it was gift. I was given the opportunity to see the kindness of humanity….as I was telling her my story the woman began to cry.  She was excited to help make my dusty shoe pile work for me.

Here they are in their glory.  They added an elastic band and now my shoes stay on my feet. I was giddy. My shoe shopping experience will never be the same, I now know I have more options.  

Let’s go shopping!

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airports

I love airports. They have a magical zest to them. There is a contagious energy in the air – it’s full of anticipation of where you’re going, and for some, the excitement of where they have been.  My favorite airport memories are back before 9/11 when you could walk your loved one to the gate, hug them goodbye and watch the plane roll away.  While waiting I’d watch people exiting planes and the homecomings, squeals and hugs from those awaiting their arrival.   I felt happy because they were so happy. Kinda weird, ok maybe?

I’m traveling to Cleveland, OH this week for work. Half of me is super excited since as you now know, I dig airports. The other side of me cringes because things are not easy.

Got bags?  

Normally, you bring a suitcase. I can’t walk on crutches and pull a suitcase so I need help with that.  If you can walk and pull a suitcase, you are so stinkin’ lucky. I’d love to be you for a day.  Oh and to be a person who can wear cute heels, pull a suitcase and talk on the phone at the same time….well you’re my hero but I also might hate you a little out of jealousy.  {wink}

Hello security.

My crutches have to go through the conveyor belt metal detector with the bags. They always ask me to walk without them through the scanner but the staples in my foot set the buzzer off. I don’t even bother anymore. I tell them I need to be patted down instead.  With my luck, it is always a man working and he shouts “female assist” since he can’t touch me.  The people around me look annoyed since I’m slowing down the line.  Typically, a super busy, sweaty lady pulls me over and pats me down head to toe. She then proceeds to run my shoes through the detector and swab my hands to run a test to see if I have touched any explosive materials.  It’s obnoxious and embarrassing, but I appreciate safety and wouldn’t want it any other way once I’m up in the sky. Keep on patting us down security friends.

I’m no track star.

Airports tend to be huge. Yeah, I could take a wheelchair but that feels lazy. Exercise is good for me. But let’s face it, I am lazy so I hate every second of it. This trip is just for the day so I don’t need a suitcase which removes obstacle number one. I’m thankful for that.

However, I’m bringing my work laptop which is a heavy beast. It really isn’t that bad when hauling it between work and home but doing a marathon airport walk will be different. It’s hard to explain…basically the backpack weighs down my shoulders, which makes me lean harder on my crutches. I resist not hurting my arms by standing straighter and I get tired.  I told myself I should fill my backpack with a gallon of milk or two and walk around the neighborhood to get strong.

That’s as far as I ever got. 

When I started my job I requested the lightest computer they had but didn’t want to be picky. I was just thankful I scored my position and I didn’t want to be a high maintenance employee. I’m hoping after a few years and I’ve done my time I can see what else they have that is lighter.  Well, just in case my backpack milk exercises fall through.

What is traveling like for you? I am guessing that getting a wheelchair through security and on a plane is no picnic. I’d love to hear your story too!

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love and junk

I’m not sure which would be better – being a girl or a boy with a disability. Not that either option is ideal but I often wonder if one path is easier.

I think it comes natural to pamper and help a girl so having to ask for help is less humbling. Well, unless you are stubborn like me.

For guys as they get older, I’m guessing it takes a bit of swallowing ones pride to do so. People might be hesitant to offer up help, not wanting to offend them. Which in turn leads them to having to swallow their pride and ask.

When it comes to dating though, I think the roles might be reversed.  Girls tend to be nurturing and some may even thrive on being needed. I could see it being easier for a guy with a disability to date.

As a girl, I assume all guys want a hot blonde with big eyes, long wavy hair and long legs. I’m sure this stereotype haunts us all, not just us who were born with a disability.

I was recently asked to write about dating when I was younger.  It made me smile because that was the third time a parent had asked me about that topic – I’m totally get how you might wonder what your child’s future love life will be like.

When I entered High School I was quiet. I hung with my girlfriends. I thought boys were cute but I’d never talk to them much less tell them. 

My school was small. Everyone was categorized. I hung with the nice girls. We were not the cool cheerleaders. We were not crazy smart. But we did not have bug collections and pocket protectors. I’d like to think we were just normal. We had sleepovers, bought clothes, read books, went to movies and talked about the boys we would kill to date.

On top of not being super cool, I was the girl on crutches. In High School everyone wants to fit in so badly. We were all finding ourselves and it would be a big risk to be the weird one who likes the disabled girl.  So I can tell you that there were no love letters slipped in my locker and my early High School days were not full of hot dates.

But there’s hope.

It was my Junior year and my girlfriend and I were driving through the grocery store parking lot. We decided to start talking to a guy who was collecting the carts.  He was cute and I felt brave and invited him to my brother’s party at our house that weekend. He came and brought two friends along. This was the first time a guy had shown interest in me and it was awesome.  We hung out for awhile but I had instantly been attracted to the friend he had brought along the first night to my house.

He was funny, smart, cute and I adored everything about him. He was from a different town and a different clique from my “nice girls” group. It was love.  

I like to think there is someone out there for us all.  Some might have to wait for boys (or us girls) to grow up to see our whole package. In the end, they might even find that dating someone with a disability makes them a better person. You learn compassion and see the world differently.

The guy who came to my house one crisp fall night when I was 16, is now my husband.  Life isn’t perfect and I sure am not. We had our off and on moments as we grew up but in the end it was clear that my world would lose its twinkle without him in it. 

Some may have to wait, but again that can be the case for anyone. I consider myself lucky. I met my husband young and was spared from years of bad dates, broken hearts and rejection. I like to think the older we get the more open we are to different types of people. I personally prefer that – it spices up life. 

So, what’s your love story? 

 

 

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