Shine….and the Big Break

As I stepped out onto the balcony, on a cold still night, my only thought was to enjoy the fresh fallen snow, and the deep and peaceful quiet of a Winters’ evening.  before  I knew it, I was face down in the snow,  in my flip flops…I know..I know….why was I wearing this type of foot wear in the snow…..??were  blown out beside me….I lay there a moment in shock, not quite realizing what had just happened.  I had no idea what invisible force had tripped my legs out from under me…but I wasin quite the cold predicament!  I rolled over, and sat up, but as I struggled to my feet….owwww..the right foot was not behaving itself…it seems something was sprained or broken….oh puleese  not the latter.  I decided that since it was very late and my daughter was in bed, I had to hobble off to bed.  I hopped along on my good leg, and finally fell into bed exhausted.  When I awoke at 2 am, and attempted to make a quick trip to the bathroom, I soon realized the little pain in my ankle, was now a bigger pain, and growing black and blue as well.  What have I done to myself?  A broken ankle would be such a pain in the butt!  My mind was in a blur as the realization of my accident was settling in.

I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night, and just wasted time on my computer, and wondered how this injury would impact how I was going to be able to care for my daughter’s daily needs.  I was already feeling tired and drained, but now there would be an added challenge to my days.  I waited until 6:30 am to call my dear friend Cindy, to beseech her to come to my rescue, and after that crawled shamelessly on my hands and knees through the living room and into the kitchen like a serpent in the night…most unladylike!  I heaved myself up into my daughters’ wheelchair, and attempted  to squeeze my hips sideways into her narrow seat.  At this point I was getting rather frustrated with myself….and felt upset and teary for getting upset and frustrated with myself…..   tears..you know how it is….Cindy arrived, and was super helpful and supportive as ever….(the woman is a saint.).

Cindy and I were both kinda giggling as we loaded me into the back of the “handicap” van, and Cindy starting to back the van up….unfortunately we veared off the edge of the driveway, and into the snow bank….and for just a moment thought we were good and stuck..me…in a cry for help said..”Jesus take the wheel..!!”… Thank you Carrie Underwood for giving us those lyrics….and just like a quickie answered insta prayer..we were out….we laughed about that..humor is good…for oh so many things..

Diagnosis at the doctors’ office went something like this…” Uhh..it’s a broken fibula on your right ankle.”  The doctor brought out a “not so fabulous” ski boot type thing and fitted it around my affected foot…most unglamorous..I can assure you….and then went to fetch a wheelchair…..what??   I’m gonna be in a wheelchair too…(was there no end  to the irony here.). Bianca, my daughter was  at home waiting for me in the wheelchair..and now..I…had to be in one for weeks… With instructions to rest..haha..good one , no weight on the affected leg, instructed to ice it often, elevate it, and sit on the couch…and do what?

How was I going to manage??…..for perhaps the millionth time ..I wanted to give up…why was this happening to me…I felt so useless…I was dependent..oh horror of horrors..I, the dependable..was now the one who needed someone to depend on…I..do not like to feel helpless..in fact you could say tha t I despise it…that..and getting lost..yep those are the top two for me..the two that make me want to “Thelma and Lousie it…in my convertible …over the cliff into the Grand Canyon..and beyond…..yes you could say I have the fantasy at times…I did not know how this would go…was I truly being given more of an extreme lesson in empathy, lack of mobility, patience and a plethora of other things.  Yes…it would seem so..and yes right on cue..I had myself a big ole “pity party.!”..seemed about right..I was due..I was owed…or so I thought.

(Shine)…..I had been planning for a month or more, to bring Bianca(my daughter,) to a very special event  in town called “Shine.”  This is a special event designed to honor special needs people in a prom type setting. Perhaps giving those “marginalized folks,” who had perhaps never gotten an invite to prom..a chance to attend and to be recognized, loved and honored.  They call it “the Big Party.”  I…we…Bianca and I were going..I had our dresses all picked out, and added to that , my friend Susan and her son, Jake were accompanying us to this wonderful event…I was not going to miss out on this..period!  Hmm. This was going to be quite the undertaking..Susan’s son is also in a wheelchair, so she was going to be driving our two kids in their wheelchairs, me on crutches, with my wheelchair, stowed away in back..to this party in my “handi-crap van..”, yes this is my loving nickname for it.  The night of the event, Susan and Jake arrived, I was busy getting myself dressed, and Bianca all dolled up, and my husband arrived amongst all the commotion bringing boutineers and corsages for the party folk.   Bianca and Jake we’re going as each other s’ date.. And yes Susan and I were enjoying the “Prom fantasy ” too.  It was so fun getting ready, and Jake said some comments that made her and I just roar with laughter…very special..this memory makes me smile..smiling is good!…My husband loaded us all into the van..smirking and shaking his head the whole time..I m sure we were quite the sight…

Our arrival at the venue was met with much fanfare, confusion and bursting excitement.  Several “handlers” crowed around us helping us to disembark from the glorious red van…so picture this..1 man wheeled Bianca..followed by me..( in my not so coordinated on the crutches glory,) then Susan brought up the rear of our convoy, pushing Jake..( and did I mention, I was seeing spots in front of my eyes, as a migraine began to develop at right that most Inopportune of times..really..)..any sorry I digress….we entered the fanfare…what a crowd..welcoming us, reaching out to us..loving us..the “bunch of misfit toys,” into the Big Bash….It was an overwhelming experience…I..being somewhat of an occasional drama queen called for a wheelchair, and a cocktail..ok..not a cocktail..but a girl can dream can’t she?  oh and right we were at a big Church event…so cocktails..not deemed as appropriate here……

Chloe came and greeted us, and she was going to be caring for and assisting with Bianca for the evening…another volunteer arrived to assist with Jacob, and then…our kiddos were whisked off to party with the other celebrity special needs folk..ok that right there needs to be the newwest of the reality shows on tv..I think I’ll pitch that idea to the network right away..lol…just kidding

Susan and I looked at each other, sighed then began to take in our surroundings…It was so very illuminating when she starting pushing me around in the wheelchair, and I was met with several glances of pity, knowing smiles, ginger glances…I started to giggle..”Susan..I said…I think these people think I have special needs too?”  Then we both started laughing as we realized how very interesting it is to be on the other side of the fence…there is nothing like seeing something brand new from another persons’ perspective …an experience you might never have known, unless you were forced into it…..I also was awed at my vantage point..From where I sat my horizon line was a continual view of crotches and butts!…I mean seriously, that is all you can see when being wheeled about in a wheelchair…..WOW…talk about a perspective adjustment. …my mind was beginning to really blow up, as I realized I was experiencing another facet of dependency….of being the one in need..the one stared at, and perhaps talked about behind peoples’ hands… I was truly humbled, and throughout the night, inspired anew with the courage, patience and stamina of so so many of these special ever deserving special needs people…I was a part of them..they were a part of me…we were all part of the human race….we were one, and we were joined…..some of us know about how much we need one another, but perhaps these precious people have known that amazing secret deep down in their souls from the very first moment. What a concept!…to know that and  to get that at our most basic we are the same…we inhabit our bodies..we hunger, thirst, fall down, and somewhere along the way we are all going to have to be picked up and looked after by another.  I felt an epiphany coming on….an encouragement of sorts…there was no difference..what a relief to just somehow know that, and sit with that…yes literally and figuratively…..it ended up being an evening of many blessings all around.. The theme of the evening was “Super Heroes.”  I thought that there are none more deserving, than these 1000 or so individuals who don’t know what it means to give up, they only know that somehow , somewhere deep down inside of all of us…life is precious..it is sacred…. Something to be revered, and guarded.   We found Jaked and Bianca in the main auditorium jamming to a live band, colorful(albeit potential seizure inducing strobe lights,)  and lots of noise, laughter, movement, craziness…and yes..PURE J O Y…..it could be found there amongst us all, and surprisingly, or not, those who end up being truly blown away and blessed by this celebration of life..are..yes you guessed it…the volunteers..us common…( and I will use the term loosely..normal folk.)…haha..what a riot…turns out..the joke is on normalcy….to be truly extraordinary…one has to be simple….humble….they are the strong in spirit, and they will inherit……after all they have shown us how to live, if we simply take the time to sit down….listen and join in…….Bravo…..another important life lesson is observed…..and I learned what it takes to truly SHINE…….


9 thoughts on “Shine….and the Big Break

  1. My dear Jill–I applaud your courage to tell your story in such a way to actually help others to realize what a task you have carried for 17 years ! We are given what we can bear…….and you have passed with Flying colors,!, I a m so thankful to have been alongside you through this Marathon of Loving care of my dear Bianca! Your mom with Love !

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  2. This is so you…..adventurous even in injury and completely, funnily honest. The pity party spiral is real, and you are awesome for not giving into it. I love that you put the experience down in words so we could share it with you. God bless you and Susan in this parallel journey you share, and thank God the break healed! You rock!

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  3. I’m tearful at this account! I love that you don’t let obstacles stop you and that you are so other focused. You are brave, lovely and able to see things with an open perspective. Thanks for sharing those fresh outlooks!

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