Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Disability and Christmas

As Christmas gets closer, Mayhem and Destruction are over the moon with excitement.  We have discussed the annual artery clogging breakfast and what the coma inducing dinner will consist of.  We are looking forward to having a day to focus on each other.  What my boys don't know and what I cannot share, is the pain I know that these two days will bring for me, because it will require that I push my body beyond its limits.  My children would never knowingly want me to suffer, but as their mother, I am determined for them to have all the creature comforts possible to celebrate this day.

Christmas morning, I will wake up at 6:30 AM to begin making the massive breakfast.  I know that my legs will shake from the effort and my hands will ache and beg for mercy, but when we finally sit at the table to eat, every face will be filled with a smile.  I will get a short break as we open presents and then it is off to get the turkey in the oven and clean up after the breakfast to end all breakfasts.  We will admire and play with our presents and then watch xmas movies together on the couch.  Hopefully, I will have filled them up so much, they won't even think of lunch.  Every hour I will rise, my knees screaming to baste the turkey.

Finally, when it is time to take the turkey out, I will begin making gravy and put the sides in the oven. The boys and the unhusband will set the table.  We will each take turns bringing the food to the table.  I will then hit the wine, because at that point my pain pills will have stopped even pretending to work.  We will eat and feast until our stomach feel like they are going to explode and then will come the process of cleaning up and putting all of the left overs away.

By the time nothing remains of the feast and the day is over, I will feel like I have been run over by a truck.  I have been trying to convince myself to be thankful that I have the ability to rise above, even though it will cost me 2-3 days on the couch to recover, but right now as it looms in front of me as I can think about is the searing pain that is coming my way.

Much of the holiday traditions that we take for granted involve a lot of work.  It is difficult for a TAB person and so imagine what it must feel like for a disabled person.  I could certainly skip all of the tasks that are awaiting me, but to do so would mean that the boys would not have the Christmas to which they have become accustomed. I wrote this post because I want people to think about the fact that the ability to do something is often taken for granted and even something that is seen as universal like the celebration of holiday can impact the life of the differently abled.    The most common sentiment that I have heard when it comes to disability, is that we can do everything the TAB, just differently.  What is perhaps more true, is that when we attempt to do what the TAB do, there is most often a cost of some sort that is paid by us. 

In the years to come, I know my children will become aware of the pain and sacrifice, and I will tell them that it is an act born out of my love for them.  I don't believe that such an effort should be required of the disabled everyday and yet it most often is.  What may seem like the smallest task to you, can be the equivalent of a marathon to us.  As you go through your day, stop and think about how things would change if your body suddenly became disabled.