Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Walking is Overrated


When I first found out that William had a brain injury, I knew there was another Mom with a son in the NICU who had also just found out about her son's brain malformation. We met in the family waiting area one day, cried together, and shared hugs. It was nice to share stories and those grieving hugs were so comforting.

But there was something about the meeting that has been eating away at me since. When exchanging stories and the prognosis the doctors had given each of our sons, she acted like it was the end of the world when I said that the Neuro thought William might not walk independently. I had shared what I thought were much scarier facts like blindness, seizures, possible severe mental retardation but it was only when I mentioned the walking did she have a negative reaction.

I have been thinking about the average person's perceived importance of independent walking since that moment. I, too, used to have that same attitude. Walking was the yardstick by which I gauged a person's abilities. The truth is, I had never actually THOUGHT about it. But I have explored this topic extensively in the past few months. And, I have to say that now I think walking is overrated.

True, there are many obstacles when you can't walk. I think probably one of the hardest must be when you are a child and come to know that you just can't play in all the ways you want to. In general, however, I think that most obstacles are those that just shouldn't be... things that deal with accessibility.

Accessibility should be seamless. The disabled should be able to live, work, and move in this world seamlessly. And it appalls me that in many ways they can't. What even is more shameful is that I never, ever even gave this a second thought until this year. Like most other abled people, I imagine, I assumed that there were always parking spaces, wheelchair shopping carts, accessible playgrounds and entertainment, therapies, and equipment readily available to those who need it. How naive.

Do I still want William to walk? Of course. Do I still use that as a yardstick? Hell NO.

7 comments:

Mel said...

Good post! I use to think that if only Crew could walk....

and now...

I just want him to communicate with me.

I'm sure that some day I will look back and once I again I will have a new perspective. I think its okay to go through the phases of grief. It's just life. Hmfhh!

Johnette said...

Well said. William is very lucky to have a Mom like you and he is such a special little boy.

23wktwins'mommy said...

Great post. It is only now that I tune into these types of things. No accessible parking, the button to automatically open the door for a person in a wheelchair is broken, the elevator is broken...the sign says "use stairs", the ailes are too narrow even for my double stroller to fit...what about a person in a wheelchair?
We can make changes, because the ability to walk or not is not the be all end all to life. There is much to explore in this world, and we have an obligation to make it just as easy for those who can't walk.

Shannon said...

Not on my list at all. I'm glad you posted so I could find your blog, actually.

I have more to say but the baby wants to eat.

Jacqui said...

Great post Lisa. You are right. Walking is so over rated.

kellarsmommy said...

I found your blog through another preemie blog..Now that you mention it I have often had sleepless nights and endless days where I sat and worried about Kellar walking...Your little ones are adorable and I look forward to reading your blo...

Carla said...

I definately agree with Mel--although I am glad my son finally learned how to walk at age 5; a lot of days I'd rather have a kid in a wheelchair that could talk than one that can walk around the house but only squeals.
The age old question: Which would you rather have a walker or a talker?