"Adventures, I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull...But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have just landed in them, usually...I expect they had a lot of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten."

-Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

Friday, May 20, 2011

Playground anxiety

Anyone who has a handicapped child can relate to this.... you pull up to a playground and its full of children and their parents. You take a deep breath and get the kids out of the car, then walk up to the playground. Parents look over, most stare. Little kids point or ask 'Why is she walking so funny?' or if she's wearing shorts and they can see her braces, they ask 'What ARE those things on her legs?'

And I admit, sometimes I hesitate. Did I make the right decision to bring the kids when its so busy? Will a someone make fun of her? Will a parent get ticked off if she's blocking the stairs as she slowly makes her way up? What if she falls and gets hurt? Will I be scoffed at for taking a handicapped child to a park and letting her go?

But Alina? She NEVER hesitates. She NEVER questions herself. She NEVER notices anyone staring at her. She jumps out of the car, sights set on the tallest slide and makes it her mission to climb to the top and slide down that slide over and over again, even if it takes her ten times longer to get up there than it does other kids. She doesn't know she's different. She confidently walks up to other kids and says hi. She smiles and laughs when other kids do, and every.single.time. she is included in the games, even if her big old mom has to help her walk around to participate. Little kids don't care, they are the model of inclusion. They don't care if she doesn't speak clearly, or walks funny, or has braces on her legs. Neither does she.

1 comment:

ErinL said...

So true. I purposely find playgrounds that are near empty simply because Oksana does take SO long to get around and then when she gets to the top of the slide she sits and sits and then SLOWLY inches herself down until she gets to the bottom! You can easily pile 20 kids behind her in that time so we are well aquainted with the not so busy times and parks! I do love it when kids ask about her AFOs. It's a wonderful opportunity to educate kids who might not learn anywhere else that a kid with a disability is more like them than different. Once a little boy at church stared and stared until he couldn't stand it any longer...he finally reached out, gave them a little knock and then he was satisfied :)!