a new blue placard

We did it.
We finally registered for one of these.

We've discussed it on and off for years.  Several therapists and doctors have mentioned it.  More recently, with Ellie preparing to be in a spica cast, I discussed it with our pt at the hospital whom I greatly respect.  She told me that generally parents with two children with differences do have a parking placard. 
We held off.
But then I realized my back aches from carrying her (stroller doesn't work really.)  And I realize that my little boy wears prosthetic legs that are hot and like weights on his leg.  He is subject to overheating since so much of his body is covered up by prosthetics and when extremities are absent, there is less surface area to sweat from - therefore overheating is a very real possibility.  (Did you know how vital fingers and toes are for releasing sweat?)
Ellie is in a spica for now.  Soon, we'll be back to splints.  Then she will likely need a walker when she begins to try walking.

Mobility assistive devices are part of our reality.

We strive really really hard to hold our kids to "normal" standards.
(Whatever that is.)
Since we were pregnant with Will, we have maintained that we would give him as normal a life as possible. 

Sometimes though normal collides with reality.

The reality is that enabling our son to do "normal" - to walk & participate in ordinary activities, requires extra effort for him.  Walking a long distance in a parking lot for him is more strenuous than it is for a typical child - he has weights on both legs & becomes hot very rapidly.  And when he chooses not to wear his zancos (prosthetics) or is participating in an activity in which zancos can't be used, then he often must be carried if it would be painful for him to walk in a particular area - it's not like we can just throw on shoes.  Sometimes too, we have issues with the fit of his prosthetics and they commonly fall off.  Obviously, in a big parking lot, this is hazardous.  (It's also funny and gives us some good laughs when he is suddenly on a "peg leg.")  Other times, he is inbetween prosthetics (we start a new set next week) and his old ones don't fit and his new ones aren't ready and he is forced to go barefoot for weeks.  Walking "barefoot" for Will is a difficult balancing act.  He does it well but it is difficult.
And Ellie?  She's heavy in a spica cast for now.  She'll need a walker.  Enabling her to do normal activities requires extra effort for her too.

I think we held off on the parking placard for so long due to pride.  Our pride somehow associated getting  a disability parking placard as an admission of failure -
a failure to maintain a high standard of "normal."
a failure to not allow excuses or limits on our children.
a failure to be strong enough to simply always carry them great distances.

Maybe too our pride was pricked at the idea that our reality does include disability.  It's not a bad thing. I embrace who our children are and what life with them entails.
It's just that we never envisioned hanging one of those little blue things from our rearview mirror at age 30.

I'm thankful to live in a country, however, which makes allowances and strives to makes some aspects of living with a disability a little easier.  I'm thankful for the fact that, in many ways, a little blue placard can be very enabling.

We finally decided to get it.  I've only used it a few times - times when I have both children and I know that more effort will be required for Will to get where we are going.  I don't think it will be commonplace for us to use the placards.  I really think it will mostly be on occasions when we realize our children are going to have to put more effort or their endurance will be stretched far more than a typically functioning child.  It's not for getting a better parking space.  It's not because I am lazy.  It is not because we want to allow excuses on our children.

It was a difficult decision.

But ultimately, I think it will benefit our family.  If our kids can participate in activities/events and have some normalcy in that respect, I'd like them to be able to get to the event without being completely worn out just from walking from the car.  (Or, to get to the car without completely exhausting themselves & me after participating in an event.)

Some people hang christmas trees from their rearview mirrors.  

It's just a little breath catching every time I see the blue placard peeking out at me in the car.

3 thoughts:

Linda said...

We waited for a while also....not sure why....probably for the same reasons as you and your husband...but having a wheelchair to deal with, it does make it easier to wheel just a little less, plus giving us more space to maneuver opening our doors wide enough for our daughter to get into and out of her chair.

nancy said...

I have a heart defect - do not look "disabled" - and need a placard for the times when walking is too strenuous for my heart. I also have a fabulous grandaughter who has AMC and needs a wheelchair. She is five, also has a trach so winter cold can be hard on her. You are in very good company! Nancy

Laura said...

Love you, sweet friend!!!!!

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