Today is my oldest’s 10th birthday.
I’m lucky to be around for it this year. For that, I’m grateful to all the surgeons, EMTs, nurses, & medical professionals who fixed me.
It’s also important that we recognize the sacrifices my kids had to make on account of my accident. We didn’t get Easter or Mother’s Day together, nor My Better Half’s birthday due to COVID visitor restrictions. They had 10 straight weeks of only seeing me through FaceTime. I missed their first day of in-person school at a new school. We canceled our Maui trip which was to take her to see her BFF for the first time in 15 months. We canceled our summer vacation to California because we know I won’t be better by July.
So she’s extra glad I’m home and well enough to summon the energy to sit in my wheelchair for 2 hours.
That may sound easy to able-bodied people. But not only am I so weak from my multiple traumas and unable to tolerate sitting due to fatigue, I also have a broken tailbone, so sitting anywhere is not a ton of fun. And then transferring from my hospital bed to / from a wheelchair is extra hard, since I can only use something called a slideboard to scooch across on my ass.
But what’s hardest right this second is that I’m irrationally embarrassed to be in a wheelchair.
I know how absurd that sounds.
And how absurd it is.
But I’m seeing a mom I don’t know well and another I’ve never met before…..in a wheelchair this afternoon. It’s already uncomfortable physically; but I also don’t know what to say to people who used to see me stand. Or what newly- but maybe not permanently disabled people “get” to say about how things are. Like is it terrible to refer to myself as disabled, which is increasingly how I see myself? Because I wasn’t born this way, and who knows, maybe I’ll be walking again someday, it feels like maybe I’m not “really” disabled?
I won’t be able to offer anyone a drink or food. I’m worried I won’t be able to get right up to the table to see her get happy birthday sung to her.
I know we are lucky to be able to be together today, in person and not through FaceTime. But it also is highlighting the negative spaces of my limits &the everyday things that I got robbed of.