The Day I Was Grateful to Be in Pain as a Mom With a Disability
My daughter is only allowed to watch a small number of television shows — yes, I am one of those parents. One of her favorite shows is “Paw Patrol.” I don’t use the word favorite lightly – she owns Paw Patrol dolls, pajamas, figurines, vehicles, stickers and don’t forget the light-up tennis shoes! Nearly 4 months ago, I saw an advertisement stating that “Paw Patrol Live!” was coming to our city for the first time ever.
I jumped on the chance to buy tickets but was faced with a decision. I usually use my power chair in public and especially at big events like this; it’s safer for me and ensures that I’m comfortable during the show but also don’t experience pain and fatigue afterwards. However, this particular theater only has wheelchair seating in the very back — waaaay back. Should I get tickets in the orchestra section where we’d be close to the stage and have a great view? Or should I get seats in the wheelchair section like I normally do?
It seemed like a difficult decision to make… for about 2 seconds. I wasn’t going to “Paw Patrol Live!” for me – I was going so my daughter could be filled with amazement, joy, excitement, and so I could witness these feelings as they melded across her face. Yep, orchestra section it was! Besides, I’d just ordered a sturdier, safer cane and was still walking pretty well for the most part. Some physical pain and discomfort were a small price to pay in order to see my daughter enjoy the show up close. I thought, “I can do this! She’s worth it!”
Did I mention that was 4 months ago? Four long months in which my body regressed further in unexpected haste. When the day of the show came, I was walking very little, even at home. The only place I don’t take my chair to at all is a meeting house, because I’ve yet to measure the doorway to make sure it will fit. I hadn’t realized I’d be this much further into my illness and disability when I purchased the tickets. I’d felt so sure of myself then; when showtime came, I was much less confident.
Tickets in hand, excitement in our hearts, smiles on our faces, we went to the theater. My mother drove us so I didn’t have to deal with parking. We walked into the lobby, where there were no seats available! Not that people were sitting in them – the lobby was simply void of benches or rest areas. I stood with my daughter in line to enter the theater and gave myself an internal pep talk, trying to feel capable of the physical task before me. When we got into the theater, I realized I’d gotten us fantastic seats! But these fantastic seats were more than halfway down the section and in the middle of the row – go mom!
My sweet little girl waited so patiently as I made my way down the steps to our row, urging me to “go slow,” “don’t let go of the railing” and “be careful.” I made it! Then we awkwardly walked to our seats — well, she walked a lot less awkwardly than I did; I took out several adult feet and some small toes.
The show was amazing, and I strongly urge families with young children to see it. Our seats were incredible! The joy and awe on my little one’s face was worth every step cautiously taken. We had a blast!
Afterwards, I made it painstakingly up the steps, back out into the lobby to wait in a line for slightly overpriced merchandise (because we needed one more Paw Patrol doll, of course) and then waited on my feet for nearly 15 minutes before my mom pulled up to whisk us away. My lower body felt like it was on fire; I ached like I hadn’t in a long time; my toes and feet were numb but tingling painfully. Yet we had the time of our lives and inside, I couldn’t have felt better.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to do something like that for my daughter again and if so, for how long. But I did it, and I’ve cried while thanking God for the ability to walk, stand and go up and down stairs even though it hurt and was hard. I know one day, I won’t be able to do any of that any longer so I’m grateful for every movement I can make and every ability I still possess.
My ability to love completely outweighed my inability to move like I once did. How can I not be thankful for that?
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