When I think of my childhood, it wasn’t anything other than fantastic. I mean, you couldn’t dream of having better parents than I had.
Sure I am a little bit one sided, but I think most people believe that their parents are just the bees knees, well I do anyway.
The move, the new life, my new experiences, and everything else that has been going on has been just as big a change for Mum and Dad as it has for myself. One of the big motivators in favor of moving out for me was the opportunities it would present Mum and Dad, mainly the opportunity for them to finally just be my parents, not my parents and my caregivers, and the transition from that to this has been really interesting. I now find myself waking up everyday not needing my Mum to feed me breakfast, not needing Dad to pull my legs forward every couple of hours, I just have my parents as my parents you know, it is a truly awesome feeling and it is one of the best realities of this new life so far.
I won’t lie, a big reason why I decided to move was because I would be god damned if I was to be relying on my parents when they were 70 years old plus, I just couldn’t imagine getting Dad out of bed at 2AM when he was 75 to turn me over.
It WAS NOT going to happen, I would rather be in a hospital than see my parents have to struggle at that age.
The thing is though, they would have done that for me, without a problem. If I had of decided to stay at home, and believed this move was just too unimaginable to even try out, they would have supported me in that too.
But honestly, I never ever believed for a second that this wouldn’t work. I had slight doubts, but I just had something inside telling me to do it, because it would all fall into place, and it has done just that.
It is hard to explain to able bodied people, but you rely a lot on others when you are disabled like this, often for the most basic and personal of day to day rituals. It does add another dynamic to the typical parent/child relationship, in my opinion it makes it stronger, unbreakable actually.
To me it makes you respect Mum and Dad a whole lot more, or at least it bloody well should!
I don’t think there was one time in 22 years where I told my Mum to “shut up and feed me” or “go and get my drink now”, it was just never like that, and when it came to Dad there was ALWAYS a level of respect there, and I thank him for the benchmark he set. I believe a Dad is important to a child’s upbringing, they harden you up a bit, and Dad was always a hard bugger but also the fairest person on the planet.
You could probably count the number of times Mum and I would have an argument on one hand. Sure we had our fights, but they never lasted anymore than a few minutes, and it would always end in a cup of tea and a chat when it was over.
How has the relationship changed since I moved to Hamilton?
It is different, but it’s so much better. Mum and Dad typically journey up here every weekend to see me, and I always feel so happy when I see my Mum and give her a big hug. It is like a catchup really, they come in and make themselves a drink, maybe some lunch, and we just sit in the lounge talking about everything that has been happening, then after a few hours it’s time to say goodbye and they are back on the road off home again.
The thing is, now days when they come and see me, they don’t have to do ANYTHING for me, if anything it’s me who does stuff for them. They don’t have to help me with my shower, make me a drink, go and pick something up off the floor, they can just come in and sit down, relax and be parents.
I love it.
I want to say that I appreciate my parents more now that I have become more independent and moved to Hamilton, but the fact is that I appreciated them as much as I do now before doing this. Moving out hasn’t raised that appreciation, it has raised my love of them, and when you stop and think that you are able to do things like go to the shop on your own, go to the cricket, to the movies, get the weekly groceries, all without the assistance of Mum n Dad, you just pinch yourself and smile like a goon for a few moments.
In the back of my mind I feel so safe in the knowledge that if god forbid, god forbid something were to happen to Mum or Dad, then I would be ok, and Mum or Dad wouldn’t have to worry about what to do with me.
The reality is your parents are not going to be around forever, they are human too and eventually they will pass on, I wanted them to know and be comfortable in the knowledge that I would be safe, secure, and ok in what I would imagine would be hugely tough times if I ever lost them. That is a HUGE thing about this new life, and I never understood why others in my position who had the opportunity to do the same as me simply shut the door on it without looking into it at all, because what happens to that person if their Mum went out and got hit by a bus tomorrow?
At best you are looking at moving with other family, at worst something like a rest home or respite care centre. Yes, that SUCKS to think about, but there has to come a time when you have to consider it a possibility, it wasn’t like I was just going to rely on the fact that I would probably pass away before they did, even though that could happen, excuse my French but FUCK thinking like this. It dawned on me that it could be a reality. That is a scary but so real prospect.
This house was a real “take it or leave it” scenario, if I didn’t jump on board then someone else would have, and I would have missed out.
Sure, if Mum or Dad ever passed away it would be gut wrenching, but at least Chris and myself won’t need to worry about how we are going to be looked after if that ever happened to either of us, fortunately Chris and I don’t have to face that worry now.
I really hope that Mum and Dad are proud of themselves as parents, because they did a fantastic job raising Jenna and me.
Sure, my new life will have its ups and downs, I will get my heartbroken by a girl I am sure, but no matter what happens, I don’t plan to make any mistakes, but even if I do, I know I can’t blame it on how I was raised, and I can’t blame it on the fact that I am sitting in a wheelchair, because I was raised with the belief that I am not disabled, I am a human being, and I can achieve my goals with a little hard work and constant plucking away, never giving up, and knowing who you are and where you came from.
The biggest accomplishment my parents achieved with me was the thinking I have in me right now, and that is: “disability… what disability?”.
I guess I am saying that I really don’t feel as if I am disabled anymore, I just feel like a normal human being, and I love my parents just as much if not more than anyone else, disabled or not. This life “in a chair” isn’t a bad thing, it is a challenge, but I try to focus on what is good about that never ending challenge.