Disability Writing

Listen To Me Anyway

12th June 2018

A few months ago, I was on a self-care kick.

I bought three mindfulness magazines made from recycled paper, and a candle that smells of books.

This was it.  I was going to read through the magazines with the candle going.  I was going to learn how to relax, and maybe even get some sleep.

And yet.

The magazines sit unread in various corners and different piles.  The candle is still sealed.

I’m still not sleeping, but that’s OK.  I’ve discovered Hot Bench.

Neil looks at me this morning and says it’s my mission for today to go through the magazines and make notes.

So wait, there’s homework now?  Self-care is a chore?

I kinda don’t have the time.

Neil was away two weeks and it was just me and Isla for most of that time.  That’s fine.  That’s my job.  Sometimes I don’t even remember that I have a name.

And my kid is awesome.  Amazing and clever and accepting.  She looks at most things as teamwork, and she is more wise than I will ever be.

But she’s all that and still a kid.  I get that.   Funny and dancing with more energy than I’ve ever seen in one person.

‘No, today isn’t backwards day.  It can be backwards day after school.  Turn around so I can dress you.’

‘Not yet.  After this show.’

‘This show is 15 minutes.  We have 7.  Hurry up.’

‘No.’

‘Then dress yourself.’

‘No.’

I turned the TV off.

‘Why don’t you listen to me?’

She mostly does.  Other times I am genuinely curious.  But then, she’s three, that’s the reason.

Her usual answers are:

Because I’m busy.

Because I’m experimenting.

I was ready to laugh of one of those lines.

But she didn’t say them.

Last week, she said, ‘Because you’re in a wheelchair.  If you could walk, I would listen to you.’

She’s never said that before, and I was a good thing I was sitting down.  Because my heart dropped.

I’ve cried in front of Isla before.  I believe in showing emotion when you feel it.

She’s been the reason for all my happy tears for years.

But she’s never made me cry like last week.

I do get frustrated, sometimes, that I’m not on the same physical level as other mothers.  (Except for the time Isla came out of my body, that was pretty physical.)

But then I realize I’m not other mothers.

I’m me, and my kid accepts me.  I accept me.

And yet.

Last week.

Last week, I cried.  Then I sucked it up.

I debated a political discussion.  Mentioning that you should listen to people whether they can walk or not, disabled or not.  We are all humans.  I debated mentioning that technically I can walk, I just choose not to.  Because I’m not very good at it.  And I’m a better mother on wheels than I am standing up.

But then I remembered we had six whole minutes before school started.

I remembered that Isla’s still three years old.  Nearly four, but still three.

And so, I met her where she was.

‘Listen to me anyway,’ I said. ‘Because I’m your mother.’  See, that phrase does work sometimes.  Because she got dressed and out the door.

She left and I cried some more.

She forgot what she said by the time she got home.  I was her favorite mother again.  That’s convenient.

That night, getting ready for bed, she took a running jump at it from the footboard.

‘Can’t you get in from the side like a regular person?’

‘Yes, but I want to be like Daddy.’

Well.

I had no comeback for that one.

us

Why?  Because this.


Also published on Medium.

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14 Comments

  • Reply a mindful traveler 12th June 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Sometimes that mother phrase is necessary Lorna. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t! Xx

  • Reply rachaelstray 12th June 2018 at 2:18 pm

    We kids say some really crappy stuff to parents that we don’t really mean. xx

    • Reply Lorna 12th June 2018 at 3:45 pm

      No, in that moment, she meant it. But I still love her.

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 12th June 2018 at 2:29 pm

    My kids have broken my heart more times that I can count. It NEVER gets easier. But, they will lift your heart and make it soar much more often than they will break it. Thinking of you 🙂

  • Reply Nicole 12th June 2018 at 4:05 pm

    If it is any consolation, my kids don’t listen to me either. Or their father. Neither of us are in a wheelchair. Anya tells me she doesn’t listen to Daddy because he’s a meaniehead, and she doesn’t listen to me because I’m old. She also tells me she wishes I could handle her and her brother better. Because I also believe in showing emotion in front of the kids, and R doesn’t believe in showing emotion ever, so Anya thinks he deals with adversity better than I do. Though he’s still a meaniehead.

    They learn early on how to knock the wind from our lungs. I believe they do it just to see the reaction. Not in a malevolent way…just out of curiosity.

    And what is it with getting ready to go places? It takes me an hour to get both kids and myself ready to walk out the door, starting with me already dressed. (Adding their father to the mix tacks on another 30 minutes, so it’s not like having a backup adult helps matters.)

    <3 to you.

  • Reply loristory 12th June 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I think one of the precious things about parent/child relationships is that you can totally be yourself around each other, no holds barred, and that comfortable, unguarded place sometimes gives birth to odd, unrehearsed moments because you feel safe enough to be in the moment. And also, kids say the dumbest things.

  • Reply Losing the Plot 12th June 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Oh I bet you are still rocked by that, I would be, have been because it happens to all of us. They find our weak spot and land a punch right on target.

    I grew up believing I was stupid, because it’s what I heard, took me a long time to realise I’m not, but I’m vulnerable there, so guess where I get sucker punched?

    It’s cold comfort knowing this is a normal part of motherhood. The details are individual but the overall effects are exactly the same.

    Chin up, you love her and she loves you the rest is window dressing xxx

  • Reply gemmaorton 13th June 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Kids don’t think before they speak, generally, and that can be great or not. They also know our weaknesses and where to push. My heart sank for you, but I respect her honesty. It’s love.

  • Reply broadsideblog 13th June 2018 at 4:00 pm

    So sorry to read this. Not sure I’d be willing to tolerate it, no matter her youth. I hope you and Neil will set her straight.

    • Reply Lorna 13th June 2018 at 8:29 pm

      She knows, it’s just she also knows how to play me. Didn’t think to give her a real telling off. It freaked her out that I was actually crying and she apologised. We’re good now. Thank you, though. Thinking of you out on the Island. xox

      • Reply broadsideblog 14th June 2018 at 2:59 am

        OK…It hurt to even read it!

        Am at a weird hotel in Islandia while Jose works out here for 5 days,

  • Reply ehart71 14th June 2018 at 7:20 pm

    It is sometime difficult being a parent with a disability. I have Usher Syndrome (hearling loss w/ progressive vision loss). I used to be able to go outside and play ball with my young son. Now, I’m unable to, and he’s missing that and is not afraid to tell me so.

    • Reply Lorna 14th June 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Stay in and show him John Hughes films instead. Thank you for the comment. Love your blog!

  • Reply johnrieber 20th June 2018 at 5:11 am

    Beautifully written

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