I don’t know if you remember me or not. The moment our paths crossed was probably so split-second that you never thought twice about it, but it still warms my heart.
It was a beautiful, not-so-hot summer day and I loaded the kids up to go to the park. The park we frequent is about 20 minutes away, and it is worth every minute of the drive. You see, this park is the only one in our area that offers wheelchair users like my son the ability to play on almost every piece of equipment. Because my son is 2, the park is not only a play experience but a learning experience as well. You see, for every wheelchair ramp, there are stairs on the other end of the equipment for the non-disabled users.
My son Luca comprehends that his wheelchair allows him to get from Point A to Point B, but he has a hard time grasping that a wheelchair cannot go up the stairs. Like any other 2-year-old, he doesn’t like being told he can’t do something the moment he wants it. He pointed to the stairs, and I acknowledged that I understood him, but redirected him to the wheelchair ramp.
As he finished his episode of frustration and we slowly made our way to the ramp, we met you and your daughter walking down the ramp. As a bit of encouragement for my son, I pointed in your direction and said “See! That’s where we go to go play.” Without any hesitation, you promptly encouraged my son and “Come on buddy! This way! Keep going!”
All I could do was crack a smile. Honestly, I did not think you were going to say anything. I was expecting a simple smile or no acknowledgment at all. But you did the exact opposite. You encouraged my son to use his wheelchair up the ramp.
It is not easy as a parent when you have a strong-willed child, and my strong-willed child is on wheels. From one parent to another, I thank you for being another voice on the sidelines cheering my son on his journey. No victory is too small in our world.
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Thinkstock photo by Jaren Wicklund.