It started when I was at university, one night a group of my friends and I were sat around the table in our flat putting the world to rights and someone out of the blue, asked a huge question… “If there was a big red button in the middle of this table and you could press it to change your life, would you press it and what would you change”? When it came to my turn to answer I think everyone (including me) expected me to say “yes I’d press it and make myself completely mobile and pain free” but to my complete surprise, when faced with the thought of my life being potentially unrecognisable, my answer came “I really don’t think I would press it”. My friends asked me to explain my thought process and as I’ve been thinking about this again in recent weeks, here goes….
When I was younger I had aspirations to be a dancer and go to stage school. Looking back now I feel so sorry for my poor Granny who had the unenviable task of sitting me down around age six to explain that a career as an Irish dancer probably wasn’t within my reach and the reasons why. (I think I really just wanted a nice dancing dress but that’s by the by).
During my school years I choose subjects, not necessarily the ones I was best at, but the ones that would best serve me for future employment (or so I thought, but that’s a story for another day). From then on came the sequence of events that have made me who I am today; the course I studied at university, my choice of accommodation there, the friends I made etc. I am a firm beleiver in the saying that everything happens for a reason, so therefore I also believe that I am, right now, exactly where I am supposed to be.
If I did press the big red button, who knows, I may have become a dancer or gone to stage school. If that had happened, I’d have a completely different circle of friends and maybe even an entirely different family, I may not have met my husband and I almost certainly wouldn’t be Momma to Starfish, so no thank you, you can keep your big red button!
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I wish I could just get into bed, pull the covers over my head and have a giant pity party but they are few and far between. Maybe we can’t choose the cards we are dealt in life but we can definitely choose how we play them. We are the only masters of our own destiny so rather than thinking “why me?” each day I face a challenge, I think “Ok, what am I supposed to learn from this?” The fact is, I have to take life at a slower pace sometimes for many different reasons and I litterally see things from a different vantage point (not least because I’m only 5ft tall) but this gives me time to appreciate things that I may not even notice otherwise.
As Starfish’s mum, I do sometimes worry, what if having me as his mum makes him feel embarrassed or means he gets bullied at school? But then I check myself and realise that it’s down to me to raise him knowing that our physical bodies and their limitations do not define us. I want to raise him to embrace diversity and to be stong enough to respectfully challenge anyone who tries to torment him.
I really believe that Starfish already has some awareness that Wheelie Momma approaches life from a slightly different angle and he has adapted so we can grow together. He can arch his little back and hold his body in ways that make it easier for me to lift him. If he drops a toy and sees me try and fail to pick it up for him, he calls out for his Dad to help us! He even knows to sit very still on my lap when I’m holding him with one hand and controlling my chair with the other.
All in all he’s a smart little cookie who has taught me many lessons already and no doubt will continue to do so. My hope is that I can continue to nurture him in every sense and that he will be as proud of his Wheelie Momma as I already am of him.