I'd like to think that there is nothing I cannot do for my daughter and for the most part that is true....there is very rarely (to the point where I can't think of an example) a time when I have had to ask someone to take the reins because of me being unable to do something for Sarah.
I have always been aware that the weather can emphasise my limitations - if it's really wet outdoors, controlling the speed of my chair on anything but a flat surface is tricky. To slow down my wheelchair I must grip the push rims and when both they and my hands are wet, this tends to be a bit 'hit and miss'....something akin to the good old 'kangaroo petrol' we all experienced when we were learning to drive!
Anyway, I digress........the long anticipated snow arrived last weekend and it never crossed my mind that there was even a question over whether I would take Sarah to her friend's birthday party or whether I would ask James to step in...he did, of course, offer but I said we would be fine...and we were....but I was keenly aware that if we did get in to trouble (getting stuck in the snow or skidding into another car etc) I would not be able to get out of the car very easily or be able to take care of Sarah's needs at the level I would ideally strive for. I would not be able to scoop her up in my arms and take her to safety.........all of this made me feel that we were vulnerable....more vulnerable than other people.
We did skid and slide about a bit and my heart rate increased beyond my comfort zone a few times...but we got there and back safely and I was relieved when we got back on to the front drive that evening. The snow didn't last long and my episode of feeling vulnerable was short-lived...
However, last night we had 'freezing rain' and a sprinkling of snow. The weather news reported severe road conditions and I was glad that I had not travelled to Preston for work (220 mile round trip) but had worked from home instead. Sarah goes to a pre-school nearby on a Friday morning and I normally escort her up there and collect her at lunchtime. It is within pushing distance so we go 'on foot'. However, one of the first things I thought of this morning was the weather - what were the pavements like? You see, it is one thing for me to slide about a bit but I cannot hold Sarah's hand while I am pushing and therefore I would not be able to assist her to stay upright if she slipped. James offered to take her up to pre-school and part of me really wanted to say 'No, no, we'll be fine thanks' but I had to step back and accept his offer because it wasn't about me being able to make it up there and back...it was about me being able to ensure Sarah's safety. I accepted James' offer and watched them toddle off up the road hand in hand.......I would be lying if I said that no part of me wished that that could have been me and Sarah - we may not be able to walk along holding hands but there are plenty of other special little things that we can do that make up for that.
I made a cup of tea and pottered about and then James came home - he confirmed that we had made the right decision as the pavements are laden with ice and there were several times that Sarah slipped and she would have fallen if James had not got hold of her hand.
This has really shown me that that are times when it's not about how I feel about me potentially missing out on things because of my disability but more about how it impacts on others and trying to make the right decisions......we made a good call this morning...thank you James for stepping in xx