Are YOU uncomfortable???

Disability can be confusing to someone who has never known another person with a Disability (PWD).  However, that doesn’t mean you get permission to talk to or about people with disabilities (PWD) as you’d like.

You have no right to ask about how they use the washroom, get in or out of bed, eat, manage their day or make them the butt of your joke because you’re uncomfortable.  Then again I know some PWD’s that have fun with this and make their answer droll and sarcastic

We all get uncomfortable sometimes.  Usually for every person that’s super comfortable, there’s one or more that are not.  Discomfort comes in many forms.  I’m sure we could all imagine all the ways or see it from someone else’s point if view. 

PWD’s sometimes make hard choices or boundaries around people, because of uncomfortability. The people that know them well may have a hard time accepting it, but also eventually get used to it.  On the other hand, PWD’s sometimes have a hard time creating boundaries because of other fears.  Fear someone won’t care for them, doesn’t like them, will treat them badly and many other reasons. 
A friend of mine who has a disability was chatting with a guy.  You know how it goes.  The conversation seemed okay until she revealed her disability and he said “oh good, you don’t have to see my ugly face.” He made a joke about her disability, but then also made it self depreciating comment in one. Because of his uncomfortability?  Why then?  Nervousness is natural.  Especially when you’re talking to a hot lady.  Ablelism is not hot!

I wonder what would happen if we were all just a little bit more vulnerable with each other?  PWD’s often feel vulnerable because they rely on others for care, assistance, etc already.  We all just want to be understood.  So, why can’t we meet people half way?  Or, if you have the capacity, meet them where they are.

This guy didn’t think his self depreciating joke would turn my friend off. He thought, if I make it about me, then she won’t be offended.  And in his deep stomach, back of brain he thought “oh shoot, I feel weird.  I don’t know what to to say about her disability.  Don’t say anything.  Oh shoot, you said something.  Make it about yourself and put yourself down.  Thats funny.  Shoot, she’s not laughing.  She didn’t think it was funny.  Fix it, fix it!”  And the person affected (my friend in this case) is ‘taught’ to feel guilty for him in the moment.  Laugh at his stupid joke.  And fix the situation by switching topics.  My friend personally did one out of the three.

Asking questions isn’t illegal.  Saying no isn’t illegal.  Treating someone like a human isn’t illegal.  Treating someone the way you’d want your parents, sibling, best friend or someone else close to you to be treated is the only thing that is acceptable. 

NOTE:  I do not have a disability.  There is no intent to offend or insult PWD’s.  This is written on the basis of knowledge I’ve been provided by those who have disabilities.

New Year!!!

Welcome to the New Year! I am so glad to be here, as I always am. This NYE was spent (after doing 2 count downs with people who go to bed earlier), on my balcony, with my wine, watching fire works and singing Auld Lange Singe. It was nice and peaceful.

When I was young, I used to try and hit as many parties or friends houses as I could. My mom told me a Jamaican proverb that goes “who you spend your New Year’s with or where, is who you will spend it with or where you’ll be most of the New Year. I liked that. Therefore, I took it upon myself to see as many people as I could and be as many places as I could, starting at around 4p. Who knows if proverbs are real or not, but I have spent my NYE and years with some amazing people and in some amazing places!

2020, I made plans to better myself in mind, health, soul and bring happiness joy to myself, so that I could then bring all those things to others too. 2021 I set these things in stone and made sure they happened. 2021 was a ride, but I made sure it was the best ride I could make it, in a world of sadness, disappointment, death (a lot for me), tiredness, frustration, busyness, confusion and the intricateness of each situation. And what a ride it was. I am glad to say I took boss moves, was authentically myself and was intentional!

I am walking into 2022 feeling light, joyful, excited and connected…to the things that are important. Doesn’t mean struggle hasn’t shown its ugly head. However, I have taught myself tools to rise above and conquer it the best I can. I am doing as much as I can, to be there for others in a healthy and sustainable way, for both parties. Doing more for charities that feel at an arms length and volunteering is something I hope to get up to too. Continuing to hold those I love dearly close and support my friends and family as they support and love me. And then there is the the fun stuff: more driving, sailing, adventuring, stepping, walking and doing cartwheels again!!!

My quote of 2021, birds of love and resemblance and alive!!!


I am sure I have said this before. Death happens way too often in my life. People I know. Friends. People I’ve supported. Family (Church, extended and chosen), they all matter and touch me. Sometimes their deaths hit me hard…harder than I expect. It’s like a weirdly knitted/sown/crocheted afghan. The different patterns are the people from all my walks. It’s big and covers me whole keeping me warm and blesses me abundantly with its size. Is just as odd as my life and doesn’t please everyone to the eye, but has a lot of character. Then, there are the dropped stiches, extra yarn pulled out and holes that are slowly being filled and some that will never be filled again.

Jason was my friend. I met him the way I meet a lot of people, on Wheeltrans. No matter who I was travelling with or where I was going, the bus I was on picked him up about two or three times per month. Not very much, but just enough to form a friendship. The first time I met him it started with hello and a helping hand. The driver asked him to turn off his power chair a couple times, I saw he had a head proximity switch. I looked over and could see Jason’s eyes widen, trying to say something,

“Can your chair turn off?” Assuming he communicates with his eyes.

He immediately looked down.

“Does looking down mean “no”?”

His eyes flew up.

“Eyes up “yes”?”

His eyes shot down, then he looked at me and gave me the most beautiful smile. I asked him I could help him chat with the driver, to which he said yes and then we talked the whole trip through. A friendship was born. A few years later, I started supporting someone at a day program and guess who attended that same program, Jason! Our friendship grew. I mean, we couldn’t swear, talk about girls or our favourite new beer, but, we made the best of it.

I tried to create a friendship with Jason outside Wheeltrans. For someone who lived in full dependent housing, was deemed not to really understand or communicate and had no family, it was hard. The first few times I called his house to talk to him, his staff laughed at me, hung up on me or didn’t trust me. I finally ran into him downtown with his best friend, ex support worker. I called her to make plans to go to the bar, hang out in the city or get together with Jason. We always had the best time together. I wished we could see each other more. I left the day program and only saw him once a month and calling was useless, even though I tried often. So, we made the best of the time when we were together.

I got a call last week from a friend from the day program. Jason died. I cried. I will miss him so much and am lucky for the opportunity to have ever met him. You know those people who you just click with, they have an added sparkle to them and they’re just infectious? That was Jason. A rocker at heart, with long hair, had good taste in women and was a straight shooter, letting people he loved know they mattered and living his life as best he could. And I for one, know how much that life that I didn’t always see was riddled in sadness, abuse and mistreatment at times. I did my best to speak up for him, keep him safe and take care of him. Not knowing what I didn’t know laid heavily on my heart. We talked about it sometimes, or changed things at the day programs to make care better. Sometimes he’d ask me to do things his staff wouldn’t. He was more compassionate and patient than I’ll ever be.

Love you Jason, I’ll never forget you

I won an award

I stopped answering certain questions a long time ago. I get some repeated ones, some rude and some that are just none of your business. They often come from a stranger, when I’m with a client and/or friend who has a disability. What I don’t understand is, what difference would me answering you make to your life? It feels as if it would only be you knowing something about someone you don’t know, that tells you nothing about who the person is.

Here are some choice questions (from adults):

-What’s wrong with them?

-Why do they need that?

-Do they have Autism?

-What is their savant?

-Can they understand?

-If we’re in a restaurant. Do you want me to bring your food later (assuming I’m feeding my friend)?

And one if my favourites

-What do they have??? 👀👀👀👀


When out with friends that I don’t provide any paid support to, it is very embarrassing for them. The assumption that all didabled people go places with a friend so they can help them. People ask me instead of them, which is also rude. It’s something they constantly fight with. And, truly appreciate when people recognize it and do better.

When with a client/friend, wether I am getting paid or not, it is incredibly frustrating. I used to be rude and say “none if your business” and quickly dismiss people. I then used the confidential road, hoping it would shut people down. It didn’t. So, I’d just revert back to “it’s none of your business”. About 20yrs ago, I decided to have discussions with each person. Find out what they’d like and how I should answer. Everyone was different and most took glee in that I was rude or, didn’t spend much time on the person. A few said I’d like to tell the person, and have a further conversation to engage them and show them my disability isn’t all I am. For the ones that didn’t want to say, I’d politely say “we don’t answer that question”.

I’m now in a very different role than ever before. This morning I had a fun conversation with a stranger, that made me reminisce the old times.

Waiting for wheeltrans to arrive, so my friend (let’s call her Jill) can head out for the day.

Stranger: “HI!”

Me: “Hello” Go back to chatting with Jill

Stranger: “HI JILL. HOW ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU? HEADING OUT FOR AN OUTING TODAY? GOING TO SCHOOL? Does she understand?” (Yes the caps are because of how loud she was shouting)

Jill: Looks at her with a straight face. Looks at me, reaches up and smiles.

Me: “She goes out everyday. Yes she can hear you and understands. We’re having a good morning. Jill, yes, no?”

Jill: Claps and smiles for yes

Stranger: Turns away, but is watching us out of the corner of her eye. Flips around dramatically “What does she have?”

Me: “We don’t answer that question. She is very happy and likes going out”

Stranger: “She is your charge?! You must know?!”

Me: “I do. You don’t need to. Feel free to ask other questions and I’m sure she’d be happy to chat.”

Stranger: “Jill should have someone who would want to share things about her.”

Me: “I’d be happy to share other things that are respectful to her and who she is. Her disability is not something you need to know.”


Thats it. Thats the award I won. Being the rudest girl ever. She left after that. Honestly, I went back to chatting with Jill and gave this person not a second thought…until now. The idea that I’m rude for not telling you personal information about another?! We’ve really screwed up as humans. Things need to be ‘normal’ and someone’s disability makes them no different, doesn’t make them my ‘charge’ and doesn’t mean they do or don’t need me. This doesn’t come from just school integration, inspirational talks and inclusion. Those things may make someone tolerant, but not always fully open minded as everyone sees those things differently. There needs to also be a refusal to name someone’s disability to explain who they are, why they did something or how they’re doing the thing they do. Or, a precedent to alwas speak respectfully and honestly about your relationship with the person who has a disability. Lead my example. That’s what I try to do. Unless I don’t need to, and they lead themselves!

Happy Birthday

Me helping him

My brother was rambunctious. He was wild. Fast, talked a lot and loved his dad. Until one day, he wasn’t. A hospital stay that shouldn’t of happened, a cure that didn’t exist searched out by arrogance, too much of one drug by a crooked doctor and a coma that lasted just long enough to take most if his brain function away.

My brother was strong, deliberate, vulnerable and dependent.

I was too young to really know the difference. Even now, I have flashes of moments I was too young to remember. I see and remember him both ways, but not different.

I grew up in a home where we helped each other, with everything and anything. I think I was about 8 or 9 when I’d support Stephen with my arms, and walk him to the washroom for a shower. Cargiving came to me at a young age. When I was anywhere from 2-5, my mom would always engage me by asking me to get a diaper, shoes, a box of milk for his G-Tube feeds, and anything else I could carry in my little hands.

We went to the hospital a lot. The ambulance could never take his WC, so usually my 10 year old self would push it to the hospital up the street or bring it down to Sickkids on TTC (this was before elevators in stations). People would stare, I would wave, it was lighter without him in it. When I was too young, my mom would leave us both at the hospital, tell me to watch him like a hawk, go home and get it or take a cab if we had the money. We spent Christmases there, Easter’s and other holidays. Christmas was great for him and I as kids, we would get the best gifts while at the hospital. If you knew my brother, you’d know he acts unimpressed at first, but then he puts his hand on the truck and moves it back and forth, or shoves it off his tray and smiles as we pick it up again. I remember hospitals as fun. As I got older, they got a bit more boring, sometimes scary. My mom would always remind us “this too shall pass.”

They say when someone’s been gone for a certain amount of time, you start forget them. I can’t manage to forget. I remember he loved playing in my hair, took naps, could crawl and pull himself up to just about anything, loved being out of his chair, wouldnt smile, until he did, treated me like a real sister, liked music and had no time for those that didn’t have time for him. What a guy eh?!

More people in my life now didn’t know him, than the ones who did. Weird huh? Life is such a shift. I miss him.

Bought my mom a WC yesterday, so I can take her on my long walks on the weekend. As people get older, they don’t always want things that will help them or make them seem weak. My brother put that idea on a bunch of helium balloons and let them go into the sky. As she started wheeling herself around my apt with her feet, I reminded her “this is not for you to wheel yourself around all day, ha” we all laughed. We’ve learned to take help because of him. When we needed it, we’ve taken it, financial, friends, nurses, docters, our Church and each other. That is a lifetime of help. We help others now that we are in a position to do so.

I will always and forever be a sibling.

Win or lose

Respite is the core of my being. Serving families and supporting children who have disabilities is something I am very fortunate to do. Getting respite at home is often ignored by government, among people who don’t have children with disabilities or amongst people who have never needed to take care of another person. People don’t understand the word Respite, even when I explain it or compare it to something else that is completely different, like babysitting.

When I started my business and even now, people tell me how much money I’ll make.

I work within my business. So, I provide respite too. It looks different. I create programs, activities, opportunities and outlets for my clients. Respite means so much more than just watching someone. It means, seeing everything through my clients eyes, listening to what they want and creating a world where they can do what they want. For example, one of my clients likes comics and figurines. So, it may be respite for his parents, but for him it means a trip to the store, where he can spend as long as he’d like.

It takes me close and far, I’ve travelled with families, take care of kids while their parents are out of town or at work, have been by their sides through sickness, surgeries, laughter, broken relationships and truly become part of the family. I get very close to my clients and they truly become friends, paid or not.

If I’ve lost a client, or I’ve gone to a siblings wedding, people talk about how it impacts my business. “The loss of a client? How will you make up for that?” Or “you went to his sisters wedding? Were you working? Oh, you weren’t, isn’t that weird?” One, I’m not sure why its anyone’s business how I run mine. I never started a business to make money and don’t use my clients vulnerability to get anything.

A parent loses out if I can’t provide respite. If I can, it’s not enough. If it is enough, they still have a child with a disability and are figuring out a challenging world filled with ignorance. And on and on. Theres no winning or losing. Either way, it’s hard. And maybe not all of it, but parts if it. And, it changes throughout the days and your life.

I started a business to provide a service that was unlike any other. I wanted to perfect a skill of understanding someone else, listening with my being and loving someone for who they are. Is that such a bad thing? Well, other business owners may think so, banks may think so, my accountant may think so, but, I don’t care. This is my business and this is how I run it.

My friends are part of me. They pick me up by making me laugh and appreciate things. It is a reciprocal friendship.



You know when you thought something was something, but it wasn’t that thing at all?  Like a date for example.  You thought it was November 6th, 2001 and find out years later it was November 6th, 2000.  Well, that’s me.  My brothers death was in 2000, not 2001 as I thought.  When my mom said it loud, I even had to look back in my papers to make sure.  At least it wasn’t my age, that would’ve been embarrassing.

So this year makes it eighteen  years.  Eighteen years since he’s not been with us. The interesting part, is my year counting was correct.  I posted last year and I said year seventeen.  I must’ve subconsciously wiped out the the rest of 2000 and most of 2001 to come to the conclusion I did.  Or I stored the date and anniversary in two separate parts of my brain and they don’t talk.

It didn’t really dawn on me, what I was called to do, until Stephen died. I had always wanted to be a teacher.  I was dissatisfied and dissapointed with my teachers and the way they taught and expected everyone to learn. Or, because I went to school in a rough area, a lot of teachers were jaded and acted as they didn’t care.  Not towards me, but towards others.  Or just oblivious and had made the wrong career choice.  I remember reading a report card recently from my grade 6 teacher.  “Marjorie is a wonderful addition to the class.  She’s smart and always tries her hardest.  She skips a number of days of school and this affects her grade.  Even though she does all the work required.”  Under that was a message from the principal. “Pauline Richards Marjorie’s mom comes into the school once a week to discuss the bulling that she encounters from other students.  She has said Marjorie doesn’t want to be here.”  See what I mean, connect the dots.

I wanted to teach the way kids learnt.  I wanted to go against the grain. I wanted to advocate for people with uniqness and differences when it came to learning.  I wanted to spread what I had learned from  my brother, my mother and my teachers mistakes.  I had finally decided to pull up my boot straps.  People had given me chances to learn the way I needed to and I was going to work hard.  I was headed to University.  I had no idea how, but I was.  Then, one quick swoop, and he was gone.

My plans took a turn.  I did nothing for a while.  After I dropped out of school, I literally did nothing.  I sat around a lot for about a year (only supporting a long time friend).  Speaking to a friend one day(about ten months later), she said I should pick up hours and provide respite.   She introduced me to Max and he changed my world.  He shook me up and continues to this day.

That’s how I based the time line, off meeting Max.  He must’ve shook me up so much, I forgot about the sadness of that passed year before I met him. He had a huge role to fill and so did I for him. We were set in who we were and nobody was going to change that.  He reminded people in a more gentle way than I did. I remember telling him I was going to be a teacher.  He laughed and then grimaced, which meant “no.” I asked him why and it came down to that he thought I was going to leave him.  I said i would always be his friend.  I called him a Prince and he acknowledged that I was a Queen.

Every year, my brothers death still gets me.  It empties my feelings for the day, makes me very boring and blah.  I laugh, but quickly go back to frowning, my head is a maze that I don’t want out of and it feels like I’m outside of my body, watching myself.  Every year though, it makes me thankful for people like Max.  Who knew and gave me me what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  Forgetfulness is my fault.







Dear Dystonia

Screw you!  You are nothing but impossible to be around.  There is no break from you and my body tires so hard to be there for my friend and the harder I try, the more you carry on with your stupidness.  This is your definition:

Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract uncontrollably. The contraction causes the affected body part to twist involuntarily, resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Dystonia can affect one muscle, a muscle group, or the entire body. Dystonia affects about 1% of the population, and women are more prone to it than men.

My client has generalized dystonia.  That means every part of his body is affected.  Blepharospasm affects the eyes and face, Cranial dystonia affects the head, face, and neck muscles, Oromandibular dystonia causes spasms of the jaw, lips, and tongue muscles, Spasmodic dystonia affects the throat muscles that are responsible for speech and finally, Torsion dystonia is a very rare disorder. It affects the entire body and seriously disables the person who has it. Symptoms generally appear in childhood and get worse as the person ages.  I wish the definition added that it can affect any muscle you have in your body, will keep the person from doing regular daily things like eating and living their life.

Sometimes it’s better and sometimes worse.  If he has a growth spurt, it can be awful for him.  Otherwise, he likes to do things just like any other teenager.  I try my best to make that happen, even if he is having a hard day.  No doubt he is stronger than me.  But sometimes I can find pressure points and break the tone.  Or make him laugh so hard, that his whole body turns to mush.  That’s my favourite.

Today was riddled with pain, spasms, screaming and still wanting to watch t.v., eat, go to a soccer game, nap, go for a walk and with me to get a position change.  All those things were made difficult by, you guessed it, Dystonia.  The harder I held him, or if I got a rubber bendy straw, the more his head with flip the opposite way, torque itself or limbs would get wrapped in his wheelchair.  The worst is when throat muscles tighten up once the food has already gone in, it makes choking very possible.  It’s pretty hard to scare me, but on occasion, I get super scared.  He often says the look on my face or if I yell, shocks him out of the spasm.

I get worried.  I get worried that he hasn’t eaten enough to truly be full, I get worried he may break an arm as he wraps it around his chair, I’m worried that he’ll hold his breathe for too long and when he can’t do something he really wants to do, I am worried he will suffer physiologically from that.  I don’t worry in front of him and keep my cool most times.   That helps us handle whatever it is together.

He has the best personality and is such a wonderful friend to have.  I mean it, he is a friend.  Our hang outs together, are just as fulfilling as any.  We make each other laugh, take each other fun places, have heart to hearts, fight and cry (well I don’t) together.  The good and bad, we’ve been through it all.  I can’t wait till this, whatever it is, is over.  I hope he can go to school tomorrow, sit, listen, learn and fulfill his goals to go to University!

But for now, Dystonia, you can suck it!  I don’t want to hear from you tonight as he sleeps.  Give him a break, he’s had you visit him unwantingly all day.




This is going to be a long one.

I have a friends, family and clients who are disabled and need things in this world to be accessible or just easier to get around and make it doable for them to get out there as anybody could.  I love all the experiences I get to be part of with my friends in my life.  However, I am still disappointed when I can do 95% of what a hotel, amusement park, theatre, etc have to offer, and not the 5% because it is not accessible.  That’s how I work, if you can’t participate and do it, I won’t either, all or nothing.

To give you some context, a client and I stayed in a Montreal hotel over the last couple nights.  The room was nice and big, they upgraded us to a two bedroom suite,  I was able to do all his camp laundry, we were close to downtown.  Everything was perfect.  I was so excited to use the heated pool, it looked nice and always gives you a re-charge.  I went up to check it out first, because I know how the world is built.  We were only two floors away, and then the flight of stairs.  They built on the two floors later in renovations and haven’t updated it in fifteen years.  The manager tells me that they built a ramp at the back of their building, and never said or promised that they were going to become accessible.  Pardon me, What???  He did offer that we could swim at their sister hotel, down the big hill, four blocks away.  This was all he offered.

I stayed at another hotel earlier this May, also in Montreal.  They had three steps to the pool.  My friend has a power chair.  We begged, and advocated, I definitely pulled the manager card, which my friend was okay with.  She is very quiet, so agreed to let me speak on her behalf.  This is not always the case, I have friends who are very vocal and I just sit back.  In the end, it was a feat, but worth it because we all got to swim.  I later explained the experience to the Manager how it was that we all got to swim.

“She parked at the bottom of the stairs.  I carried her up the steps, onto a wicker pool chair, A friend and I pulled the chair (it was not easy to move) across the pool deck, parked it at the edge so her toes wouldn’t catch and she told me to push her in.  My friend caught her so she wouldn’t hit her head on the bottom of the pool.  Then to get into the hot tub, we lifted her out of the pool, slid her across the pool deck and lifted her into the hot tub.  When we did the reverse, we had to pull the chair further as the hot tub was on the other side.  The chair kept getting caught on parts of the deck and would tip.  Two people were needed.  We were willing to do this and she was willing to let us, that is how it happened.”  That manager gave us 40% off our room and he was at our beck and call for the rest of the weekend.  I was later informed they rented a ramp for a group, but took it out when they left as it was rented.  I suggested that they invest in their own ramp.

The only hotel I’ve stayed at in Montreal or other cities, Toronto included that have an accessible room, bathroom, access to the pool is…sorry I don’t have one.  All hotels had one feature but not the other.  They have all had renovations in the last ten years.  Why?  Why is that my friends have to give up one thing for the other?  Why can’t hotels post their accessible rooms or a floor plan on their websites, so people can save themselves time and energy.  If I were going somewhere with a friend and they or I were booking it, we call every hotel at least twice, to check how accessible they are, even if it is on their website.  The most accessible hotels I have stayed in, are all in the states.

This is not to say that we are completely turned away, or people are not nice when these issues are brought up.  It’s that nobody has to say anything at all to solve the matter.  Everyone’s mentality should start to change around these issues once adopted.  However, that doesn’t seem to happen.  You can always tell who is training their staff and who is not.

Within my city, discrimination is subtle, changes to rules that have been adopted forever, and then surprising people at the gate with entrance fees that weren’t there before.  Or lists that they are not asking anyone else to be on.  There seems to be this idea that rules and changes can happen, especially if they affect a great number of people.  The problem is, that people who are disabled, it can affect their physical health as they are always fighting a battle, mental health as they learn the world is less and less for them and social health as they are not able to participate due to other constraints that sometimes leave them with no money, no attendant, no wheel-trans and the list goes on and on.

This is only part one.  Stay tuned

Life lessons

Ontario Place.  Remember that place?  My mom took my brother and I there a lot when we were kids.  I was the ever passionate dare devil. I would push my brother in his wheelchair through the punching bags hanging from the ceiling, carry him up to go down the huge slide and squeeze him in beside me on the bumper boats.  Sometimes he laughed, other times he gave me a “why me” look.

I learned a lot of things going out with my brother and my mom.  She really does know everything.  My brother being vulnerable, she had a heightened sense of emotional intelligence, seeing what people needed and caring for people even when they didn’t know it.   She slowly and subtly passed those things on to me.

We took Wheeltrans everywhere we went.   That was back when you had to book it five days in advance. If you booked on the fourth day in advance,  you were too late and had to wait till the same day of travel to try and book it.  You can bet I was on the phone early Monday morning booking for Saturday to go out.  My first lesson: planning ahead.

We often booked to be dropped at the East gate.  It was easier to get to. You’d avoid the ramp with about seven rises before you got to the top and you didn’t have to walk along the bridge looking down at the water. Sometimes, wheeltrans would go to the west gate.  You could see it from the east gate.  My mom would say “run over to the other gate and tell the driver we’re at the east gate.  If it’s not our bus, wait at that side and keep an eye out over here.  Run back if you see me wave.”  Lessons two and three: Run fast everytime and be observant.

One time Stephens wheel broke off his wheelchair.  The front left.  We could see the bus sitting outside the gate. Couple bad things happening here.  We could miss our bus, they won’t take a wheelchair if its broken and we had run out of meds and food for my brother. We had to take this bus home and couldn’t wait.  While she ran to explain to the driver, I went into the first aid and asked for tape and string.  They got tape out of the first aid kit and string from their ballons.  I took my brother out and sat him on the floor.  Flipped the chair upside down and proceeded to wrap the string around the broken wheel, attaching it to the base.  I then tapped it. My mom got there and helped.  We must’ve done it in five minutes.  We caught our bus.  Lesson five: Use your resources and think on your feet, because the consequences could be much worse.

Sometimes we’d pack lunch to save money.  Sometimes my mom would buy lunch with the little money she had.  She didn’t pay for herself or Stephen to get in, only for me once I was older than six.  We sometimes had to ask for a “no fare” on Wheeltrans and pay at a later date.  But man, did we always have a fun time.  She never let on that money was an issue.  Even if she said she didn’t have enough money to go there and we’d go somewhere that was free, we’d have the best time.  Lesson six:  Money is nice but people are better.

If I didn’t have my brother and my mom, these lessons would never have been what they were. Thank goodness for that.