How do you parent when you’ve lost your mobility?
My sister called when I was on the other line talking with my friend Vicky. I clicked over to take her call and found that she wanted me to take care of her 15-year-old daughter for 10 days. I clicked the phone back to Vicky and candidly told her it was my sister wanting me to do childcare. Even though I didn’t ask for her opinion, she immediately, responded in a rather adamant tone,”You can’t watch her kid. What can you do for a child?”
At first, I was a little offended and somewhat appalled. I get exhausted from having to defend the limitations disability carries. Frankly, I am sick of people, especially my friends and relatives reminding me of the effect of my disability, instead of rewarding my abilities. I can’t help but wonder, does it bring them power, in other words do they see themselves as more of a person than I because they are mobile. Maybe their self-esteem needs a boost so they find shortcoming in my physical health.
My well-meaning friend went on to ask me, “How will she eat?” I chuckled to myself and thought, she had forgotten my children were 7 and 11 when I was diagnosed as disabled and their Dad had left, and more so, she was one of the people who supported me with my daughters. Being judged by a stranger is understood but being catorigized as incapable by someone who knows me well is worse. She would pick them up from school and accompany them on errands. Besides, my niece at the age of fifteen can cook, as a matter of fact, she loves cooking and it is quite evident in each bite. She is a good cook.
Remembering that people speak from their experiences, I let go of my disappointment and began to put things in perspective. As a parent lying on my back, I recognized that children need so much more support than physical. I depend on a power greater than myself. I see how we are all connected in this world. I have learned to see the world as my extended family. The altruistic aspect of being human connects us all.
Studies show so many of our children are deprived of unconditional love, positive attention, spiritual guidance, a live body to listen and understand them, and moreover, welcome them into the universe as a blessing. Children need nourishment as well as nurturing.
Talk to me……