It was while I was searching for an image of a smiling, happy person in a wheelchair, that I stumbled across this one. I laughed. This picture represents the twin things that have ruled our lives for the past several years.
My son in his wheelchair, and my daughter with her dance aspirations. It's a photo I could have taken myself to depict 'my family'.
Interestingly the content of the blog from which I sourced the photo (linked above), had a very different story attached to it.
It was a story of a face-off between a lady in a wheelchair, and the choreographer of a ballet. It's a thought provoking recount of how one's own situation, dictates how we react to various scenarios.
Certainly I have been known to be hyper-sensitive to many disability related issues.
I recall getting in to a fiery debate regarding the use of disabled rest room facilities by a plethora of 'others' who are not 'disabled', but consider themselves so. They are not 'disabled' by nature of having young children in tow, or being in a hurry to 'go'. That is 'incovenienced', not 'disabled'. Or so I said at the time.
The debate did not go well, with me leaving the discussion fairly upset.
I couldn't make them see, and clearly they felt I was being unreasonable.
The sign on Rest Rooms and Parking Spaces clearly depicts a person in a wheelchair. It does not depict a mother with a shopping trolley or a pram, or someone whose left their run to the loo too late to want to wait in a queue. People in wheelchairs can not use other facilities. Mothers with prams, and people with bladder control issues, can. It's actually a simple courtesy.
I have a big van with a ramp and a government issued Disability Parking Permit, which clearly states 'to be used only when transporting the person listed hereon'. I would no more park in a disabled parking bay without my son on board, than fly to the moon. Yet I see others do it all the time. They take exception when I say something...and I always do.
Similarly, no matter how many children or babies I've had in tow (and I have four children), I have never ever used the Disabled toilet facilities. It's wrong. There are Parent and Baby Rest Rooms in most modern shopping centres these days. Why use the very few Disabled toilet facilities when the Disabled have nowhere else to go?
I accept that 'some' Disabled facilities are dually used by customers mobilising in wheelchairs and Parents with children where signed as such. But that is not in the majority.
I've had to haul up stakes half way through shopping and go home with Mr A in his younger days, because someone decided that their needs for 'convenience' were greater than his for 'necessity'.
Please, please, please remember that it's tough enough for people in wheelchairs and their families.
Don't make it tougher by parking in their parking bays and using their Rest Rooms.