If you were to have told me two years ago that I would be happy and excited when my son’s wheelchair arrived, I would not have believed it. But that day is indeed here and I am in fact, quite happy and excited.
First off, have you seen the chair? It is not the normal wheelchair that you probably have envisioned in your mind. It is rather feature-laden and configurable. It’s as if Xzibit came knocking on your door, took steps to pimp your ride/chair, and unveiled Jackson’s Xpanda seat. (For all pre-MTV-generation readers, the internet (invented by Al Gore!) can enlighten you.)
One of Jackson’s more prominent disabilities is his lack of body control. He is more or less a limp noodle. We work hard everyday to develop muscle control and memory, but it is a long journey. As such, Jackson requires seating and other equipment that holds his head in place, straps him in, and keeps him secure. Baby products are great for this. Really great. But when a child grows out of them but still needs the control they provide, there are not a ton of options. Without something like the wheelchair, Jackson couldn’t go out to restaurants, couldn’t go over to other people’s homes…excluding his grandparents who have outfitted their homes with anything he could need and then some.
We are easing our way into the wheelchair life (not to be confused with the fast life). We have taken Jackson around family and a few other places, but not yet to a public place. In my mind, I keep thinking that it will be some sort of mild public spectacle. We will get out there soon enough, it’s just that our social calendars are super weak and there haven’t been many opportunities. Over time, we will become accustomed to the looks and questions, transitioning from the wheelchair life to just life. Just like Doc Holiday said, “There’s no normal life. There’s just life.” And I couldn’t be happier with ours.