I dropped Charlie off at school the other day and as I headed back to the car I saw his class walking to breakfast. Meals are very important in a special needs class, so most of the students go (yes, this means I PAY to have my child filled with sugary starches–I try not to think about it). There they were–a class of little people, holding hands, Charlie being pushed. And I was merely an observer.
The next day I was at school to discuss the car-rider line with the principal (note: dis-assembling your wheelchair in the middle of the line will not make you any friends). As we sat waiting in the office, people would come and go and several adults stopped to greet and talk to Charlie (not that he talks back). These people knew Charlie–but I didn’t know them.
It’s amazing, really, but at three years of age, Charlie is beginning to make his mark on the community. He is becoming a part of this place.My baby is gone and has been replaced with this boy. He’s growing up. I see it.
And he will change people. I know it. If he never walks and never talks, he will be known by his classmates and teachers. He won’t be an idea about disability–he will be the living embodiment, a rolling, smiling, blue-eyed example of the humanity and beauty that can go hand in hand with that chair.
It’s breathtaking if you think about it.