>Kathryn is hosting the next Disability Blog Carnival and has suggested the topic of “Family”. These are my thoughts on family and disability.
I’ve always been disabled and so I can’t comment on that aspect of the interaction between the two (acquiring a disability, I mean).
What I can tell you is that my sister is seven years younger than me and we have a brother who is slap bang in the middle of us. Which meant there were times when I was in my chair and she was in the buggy. Explaining to a four year old why he is the only one who has to walk is not easy. So I can remember a time when we were in a DIY store. I was being pushed in my chair (I didn’t get an actual chair I could self-propel until I was 9 or so) and Sophie was being pushed in the buggy. And Ben was screaming and throwing a tantrum because he had to walk and it wasn’t fair.
I can tell you that I used to wear night splints and that I have many memories of one going on me and one onto Ben because he wanted the attention too. When he’d fall asleep my parents would gently take his off and put it onto me. Heaven help them if they woke him up – because after all I got to wear mine all night.
And then there were the times when I would throw a fit because I wouldn’t be allowed to do something Ben or Sophie were and I was the oldest and it just wasn’t fair!! I think the worst was when I was 13 and had to have it explained to me that CP was forever.
Occasionally still I feel a little pang when they do things like I cannot. Like today sat in my sister’s car listening to loud music as she drove I thought how much I would love to drive. But that’s just one of those things were we always want what others have. I remember when I first got my previous powerchair. It was the first time I had one and I showed Soph how to drive it and then we went down the quiet little cul de sac I lived on at that time – me in my manual and her in the powerchair. She loved it and was laughing and asking if they sold those things to able-bodied people because she’d really quite like one. She did also try to take it up a huge curb and got it stuck but thats another story…
I get on well with my parents too. I would say that my CP does make things a little tense between me, them and my brother and sister too at times. But equally I know that everyone has reasons why they don’t always get on great with their family and if it wasn’t my CP and my care needs making us all frustrated and snapish it would be something else – and often it is something else. This just comes back to my tendency to blame everything bad on my disability, as I’ve discussed before.
I could write a lot more about my relationship with my family – particularly with my parents but there is a lot of background to it which would take more time than I have to explain. I have a show to watch in fifteen minutes and somethings are more important that blogging no matter how much I love it!
And with the things I am thinking of in particular I have found many people have misunderstood without knowing that background. Because those things are so opposite to the normal perception of the little crippled girl who lives with her parents and relies on them etc etc people assume that my parents are uncaring and we don’t get on. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We love each other and we get on well but they broke the stereotypes because they wanted what was best for all of us – and it was that.