A day at the beach

Since Sunday was such a nice day, I took one of my clients to the beach. He is my favourite because he likes to run and be active and when he looks at something and smiles, his eyes tell a story you wouldn’t believe. All my clients are favourites though.

He loves sand, water and being outside. Would never wear a coat if he didn’t have to, spend his time by a pool wearing trunks, or not if they weren’t close by. He would just swim with clothes on. Basically, the beach was the perfect place to go.

There we were, walking along the board walk, people watching and looking for a good spot to ditch the wheelchair and go for a run. Ha, found a spot! There were other people there too, we always make friends.

I undid his seat belt and he was off through the sand, destination, water! As I caught up to him, we sat and trickled the sand through our fingers. We talked to strangers, three dogs climbed on him as he lay in the sand and we watched people fly their $400 kites. You know the ones, huge in size, heavy duty handles and cables, a lot of body leaning to control it as its so big. Ate at a nice beach cafe, saved a lost child and watched…

…water roll in, sand trickle through our fingers, the sun poking its head out, just watched. I love to talk and be social, but there’s something about sitting in silence and taking everything in and that happened Sunday; Thank you!

DSW







Day after

Well, here I am.  It feels like nothing has changed, but so much has.

I sometimes feel bad that I don’t remember you the way I wish I could.  Your face sometimes skips away from me and I have to try really hard to see you.  I feel you though, everyday, you’re there.  I wonder what it’s like where you are and I hope your happy.

Twelve years, wow, how did I make it this farther than you.  For some reason when you first left, it felt like everyone around me and myself were the very next people in line.  The Lord has shown me that’s not the truth and you have taught me to live a different life of dreams.  My first dream, taking care of you forever was cut short, stolen from me.  I now see it was just to make room for other bigger dreams.  Are you included in my new dreams?  Yep, in the best way possible!  YOU, Stephen Richards are my inspiration!

If you weren’t who you were, I might’ve never learned some of the things I know.  Things you don’t learn in school like: True love, non-verbal language, compassion, to care for someone in whatever way that may look like, to see the true JOY in things, the silver lining, to laugh, to see things from the inside out, to be kind, to respect others and the list goes on.

I thanked you when you were here…and I thank you now!  Those things have gotten me through the world, helped me make friends and most importantly, given something to smile about each day.

I will miss you forever and will always remember you, even if I have to try hard.  Please keep swooping in and out of my life, I like it and it makes me feel good.

Thanks to you dear brother.

Sibling

Whatchu’ looking at?

I get stared at a lot. Yes, I am crazy, sometimes silly and usually loud, but that doesn’t make people stare. People are usually staring at me because I am accompanying someone who has some form of physical and/or developmental disability.  That’s right, people are never staring at me, they are staring at the person I am supporting.

Here is the kind of staring I am talking about: A prolonged gaze or fixed look. In staring, one object or person is the continual focus of visual interest, for an extended amount of time.  Sometimes there is a head tilt, sometimes shakes of pity, but a positive message never seems to come across to me when we are getting stared at.

The problem is, this type of staring isn’t seen as interest, it is seen as ignorance and rudeness to the person being stared at. Sometimes people stare so long, I have to stand in front of them or get to their eye level to break their gaze. Nobody says hi, they just stare. I have even seen people crook their necks to the side to stare at one of my clients. I am not sure why it is so intense, but have you never seen a wheelchair, person using a wheelchair or someone with a form of disability???

I know people are curious and they don’t understand.  Sometimes people don’t know what a person with a disability looks like or are interested in their gestures and movements.  It is very new to some people and that is okay, but staring is rude in general anyway!

Children, I can understand. They are still learning and we as adults have to teach them compassion for all people and that everyone is different. If I see a child staring, I get to their level, catch their gaze and say “hi.” This cues my client to smile, look or say hi themselves. If my client can’t do any of those things, I become their smile and kindness extender (if that makes sense).   This way, I try to make a connection between the child and the I am supporting.  Parents, please encourage your children to say “hi” and ask questions.  I have an answer for every awkward question your child may have and you’d be surprised what children ask sometimes.

Adults, I have less patience for. I think sometimes they think I don’t see them or the person they are staring at doesn’t see it, but my guys always see it.  I will catch the gaze of an adult staring and say hi, but very rarely do they say hi back or they look the other way right away. Some look at me and still continue to stare, as if it is their right. I would hope that they know better, that I am trying to stop them from staring. Some do, some don’t.

I was on the train with a client the other day. The two young women across from us were being stared at by someone else. They hated it; they had to ask the lady to stop staring at them. They then looked at my client and I and asked, “why is she staring at us?”

“I don’t know people are curious…and nosey.”

It was interesting to share that moment with two girls who may or may not have stared at us in a different situation.

Now I am just complaining. I guess what I really wish for, is that parents teach their children to say hi to others.  Take cues from your children; they will teach a lot about being different and acceptance.  If you are an adult and you are curious, looking is okay.  But please, no bad looks, cut eye or pity head shaking, it makes us feel bad.  Also, please smile and say hello, being friendly is always contagious and you will be met with friendliness.

DSW