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On Getting the New Wheels

Sebastian got his first wheelchair on Tuesday afternoon. It was supposed to be this exciting event, but I just wanted to cry. But I didn’t. Not until Sebastian was watching Sesame Street and I was making dinner in the kitchen, telling his dad about our adventure that afternoon. Getting the wheelchair in and out of our car was less than to be desired. It seemed ridiculous to get a mini-van when we were car shopping with only one child. Not so much anymore. Ali helped me find the best/easiest way to get the wheelchair in and out of the car the next morning before school. We did ok.

Sebastian feels good in the chair. It helps him sit up straight and gives him the support he needs. I know that he will be able to do more with hands; which is so important for play, communication and even self-care like eating and brushing his teeth. I know that he will feel more independent. I know that it will help his back grow straight. I know that his neck muscles will get strong from holding his head up and lifting it back into place when it falls forward. I know all of these things. So why do I want to cry when I’m pushing him into school for the first time in his new chair? Why do I want to cry when I have to explain to one of his classmates why he has this new chair to sit in instead of his stroller?

It’s true, I’m a bit emotional these days. It’s kind of a rough month for our family with the anniversaries of Josh’s birth and death. Not to mention other life events. It is difficult not to see the obstacles of a wheelchair. Like stairs. And cars and homes that aren’t the right size. I’ve always been one to overcome obstacles, so I put on a happy face and reserve the swelling of tears for my quiet moments, alone. And they pass. And I’m happy again and I see the good things. Like living in a place (ie. Canada) that can help us take care of Sebastian’s needs. And all of the things Sebastian CAN do with a wheelchair. I’m thankful for my husband who works so hard and took a job here, so that he could take care of us. And we celebrate life, for all that it is. And isn’t.

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12 thoughts on “On Getting the New Wheels”

  1. It would be surprising if you weren’t emotional about all of these experiences. Every new step along the way I’m sure will bring moments of challenges and triumphs for all of you! A family I once worked with always kept a bottle of champagne available to celebrate these triumphs! i loved the idea. 🙂

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  2. Oh Kara, I can’t imagine the mixed emotions and as I have said before you truly are one of the strongest women I know. I loved seeing how excited he was in the picture. Take it one moment by moment. This is just the next step to the next amazing thing he does. How much does it weigh? Does it fit in the trunk? Anything I can do?

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    1. Thanks Gemma, I think you are one of the most supportive friends I have. I really appreciate your compassion. The exact weight, unsure, it’s just a bit awkward to lift in and out of the car, since the car isn’t level with the ground of course. 🙂 it does fit in the back of our Subaru, which is why we got it. Just your words and interest in being a part of our lives is really enough, thank you.

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  3. Grieving a little for this change is ok… no one wants to accept a wheelchair into their life. Funny enough with all the challenge it adds it also brings freedom. My son’s first chair is sitting next to my car, I can’t bear to part with it yet. Don’t know why really. I cried the day it entered our lives too.

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  4. I have been with many parents and children as they got a lot of different firsts…wheelchairs, A.F.O’s, therapy regimins and the list goes on. If it makes you feel any better, they all cried. Everytime too. They all worried about having this extra equipment, seeing the limitations and boundaries. I found what always helped was, taking thier child (or them taking their child) on an adventure, running into an obstacle, stairs, broken elevator and the steps it took to rectify it or how it changed the day because of it. As I would tell them what happend or vice-versa, it became an adventure! Their child always lit up too, because for them, they don’t know the obstacles, and I am not going to begin to teach them. Go and have an adventure!

    I also understand the feeling of grief and loss. I lost my brother ten years ago this June. This is always a hard month for me too.

    Marjorie

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    1. Thanks Marjorie, I love getting your insight. Someday I hope you have the chance to hang out with Sebastian, he would have so much fun with you! I will be thinking of you while you remember your brother. Do something on that day which makes you happy so you can celebrate the life he lived.

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  5. I suspect your feelings are just a part of the process and your feelings of sadness will fade soon. I have to say he looks so grown, and happy, sitting in that chair. Wish I lived closer to take him for a spin!

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    1. Thanks! It is indeed all a part of the process. Have been thinking about you guys. Looks like Oia is doing great after her surgery.

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  6. A wheelchair is a major change in your daily routine, and it represents so many things — yet it is something that few or none of us were prepared for as part of raising a child. The mixed emotions are overwhelming and you need to cry to release these powerful feelings. I love the way he smiles with those big blue eyes while he’s on that chair, and that is probably what will you carry you through the day everyday. Like you said, it will make him more independent and stronger.

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    1. Oh I’ve been doing a great job releasing those emotions this week! Thanks for the thoughtful words Tonette.

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