Living as a Mom in a Wheelchair

by Priscilla Hedlin
Originally Published: 

As a mom of three in a wheelchair, I draw plenty of attention.

I get questioned from little kids all the time; “Why can’t you walk?” “Are your legs broken?” or “Why are you in there?”

At first, the mom or dad is just horrified and humiliated that their child would ask me such a question, but they start to relax the moment they see me smile.

I’ll usually start with something simple to see if that will pacify them. I simply state that my legs don’t work anymore. Kids, will be kids, though, so more often then not they ask, “Why?”.

I’ll usually twist my mouth a little and pretend to ponder their question as if it is the most important question ever. And it is; they really want to know.

I tell them that we all have nerves in our back that are kind of like a cord on a lamp, and my cord was cut, so it no longer works. The nerves send special signals to your legs and arms so they move but my legs don’t get the special signals anymore.

The child will usually look at me funny and just say, “oh, ok”. It’s almost always the exact same conversation. The same looks. The same reaction from the parents. Yet, each time it makes me proud to know that a child has learned that they can inquire about things. They can learn about different walks (or rolls) of life. Everybody is different yet we all share the same desire to be a part of each other’s worlds.

Parents: Please, let your child ask questions. Don’t be afraid of what someone will think. Chances are, they’re happy to tell your child why their hair is blue, or they have a scar down their face. They want to inform you but if you don’t ask, how will they know you care?

So how exactly do I chase three boys, while sitting in a wheelchair? I get asked variations on that questions fairly often and it’s not a question that I can really answer with words. I just do it. See for yourself…

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