It Changes You

When Charlie was born I was so scared that he was going to change me in a bad way. I was afraid I’d never be happy again. I was afraid I would become bitter. I was afraid that I would forget how to enjoy life and be thankful for what I have.

Well, really, I realized that our lives are full of events and all we can do is react to them. How we react to them is our choice. I feel pretty confident that for the most part I’m the same girl that I was before Charlie.

Yesterday, however, I realized that I have changed some. My brother’s girlfriend works at an Oil and Gas company and all the big companies rent out hotel suites or restaurants around the French Quarter and then print out special invitations for people to come. She had invitations to three different events and we were excited because they all have open bar and free food.

Well, as I snaked through one location I found myself wondering how a person with a wheelchair would get around the place–not easily is the conclusion I came to and it made me a little sad to think that maybe something like this wouldn’t be a possibility for Charlie (as an adult–God help me if I brought my baby to the Quarter at Mardi Gras). Later we were up on a balcony on Bourbon throwing beads at the tourists. Not to worry–I didn’t encourage anyone to remove their clothes! Anyway, down the street I saw two parents pushing their adult son in a wheelchair. Looking at him, I thought it was a pretty safe bet that he had cerebral palsy. I got one of my prettiest bead and started waving to his dad. He saw me, I motioned that the bead was for his son and threw it to him. He put the bead around his son’s neck and told him something in his ear. Then, the man in the wheelchair looked right up at me, smiled, and gave a bit of a wave. Incredible feeling.

You know, if the way Charlie is going to change me is to make me more observant, more attuned to people with disabilities and more likely to reach out to them, well, I’m fine with that.

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Comments

  1. Bobby's Dream says:

    Your post made my heart full and my eyes tear up. Joyful, of course.

    I have not been here in a while, I am gonna look around.

    Glad I stumbled back in.

  2. loural.murray says:

    My mom is in a wheelchair with brain damage and a speech impediment. Those people that can see through that to who she actually is underneath..I thank god for them everyday.

    I very much think that being around those with disabilities can make us better and more empathetic.

  3. Small Town Girl says:

    My uncle is in a wheelchair and our family is VERY aware of our surroundings regarding him. Handicapped parking spaces, bathrooms and hotel rooms are usually the poorest designed things.

  4. Nadine Hightower says:

    You did a good thing.

    Hugs!

  5. blairspage says:

    OMG… you just made my heart skip a little beat with that! How awesome of you to do that for them! And, I think it’s incredible for parents to include their kids (no matter how old) in things like that!

    Big Hugs to you!
    Tiffany

  6. You are awesome. This made me all teary. I love it.

  7. Great Post! I agree with you 100%.
    Daniel has made me a better person I can tell you that much….gives you a different look at things and makes you realize ALOT!

  8. Great post! That’s definitely a good way to change. 😉

  9. I am waiting for the day when that ‘stand up’ wheelchair is available and affordable to all. It goes up and down stairs and the person sitting in it can push a button and it will raise them to a (strapped in) standing position so they can look people in the eye.

    See it here http://www.metacafe.com/watch/769379/power_stand_up_wheelchair/

  10. I know what you mean about becoming more aware. There is very limited parking at Lorelai’s preschool. With that being said…there are NEVER enough spots available during drop off and pick up time. And people ALWAYS park in the one handicapped parking spot. I think that they figure it’s no big deal because they are only going to be about a minute or two while they walk their child in. But it drives me crazy! I don’t think that I ever would have thought about it before Elisabeth. But one of these days when she is a little bigger, Elisabeth will be in a wheel chair. And I will need those handicapped spots for her. And it really upsets me that people at the preschool are so careless about parking there. It’s been bothering me for months. I’ve been thinking about notifying the people who run the school and asking them to send a notice home telling people not to park there….what do you think? Or am I over reacting?

    Thanks for sharing. I loved this post.

  11. Beautiful post and I totally agree. Just had my fifth ever visit to Sydney and for the first time REALLY realised how ridiculously inaccessible the public transport system is there for anyone in a wheelchair. It’s shocking, and naturally, perhaps, shocked me even more that I’d never ever noticed this before.

  12. GOOSEBUMPS!!!!
    You so rock!

  13. lildingsmama says:

    I loved this post. You are a terrific woman and an AMAZING mom!!!

  14. Awww, that’s so sweet.

    BTW a bunch of my friends were down there last weekend. I decided not to go, because, crowds bother me. I guess one girl got lost from the rest on Fri night and lost her wallet and some people found her drunk and crying on the street and took her to a coffee shop and prayed for her. She left the next morning.

    And LOL at your comment on my blog – bc I’d said the same thing to a friend of mine – hey maybe I was emitting good vibes :)

  15. Charlie is just getting cuter and cuter! You were up in my neck of the woods. I live in Plano. Sounds like you had a very exciting trip for Charlies therapy. I hope you are able to come back & learn more.

    Tam in Tx

  16. blairspage says:

    Hey girl… I’m getting my furniture from Hank’s Fine Furniture. They have been around this area for a long time. Plus, they gave me a 12% discount for paying cash for it! :) And, it’s also great quality!

    Hugs – Tiff

  17. Amen to that.

  18. That really is a great post, you said it so well. I also have become very aware of people with disabilities out there. Especially parents of kids with disabilities.

    That is so cool you got to celebrate Mardi Gras, on a side note. I did it one year a long time ago, and I possibly the most fun you can have in five days. From what I can remember. :) I think that’s how a lot of people feel about Mardi Gras.

  19. caryanne says:

    Hi. I finally had to leave a comment. I have been following your blog for a few months now (and have finally managed to read everything since the beginning).

    I just loved this post…I cried thinking of you tossing your beads.

    And yes, I agree “It does change you”. My Ben was diagnosed with CP in September and I now see the world completely different.

    I really love your blog and anxiously await every post!

  20. Sniffle Sniffle….wiping tears….