Yesterday I decided to stop by the market on my way home after dropping Nate at a friend’s house. Kevin and I ran (and I use the term loosely) into the store and picked up a few odds and ends that we needed to get us through the week.
I was lucky and got a good parking space close to the entrance. I normally don’t mind a spot that is a bit away from the door because it gives me a chance to walk off the stiffness before I actually make it into the store.
While I have made improvements with my walking, lately it is a deliberate act, not something that comes with ease. Things got complicated when Max, my 110 pound golden retriever ran head first into my knee when he got spooked. So everyday I have been moving that knee a lit bit more and it is coming along, but it has been slow.
Kevin and I made our way through the market, picked up what we needed and a few things that we didn’t and checked out. We got to the car and my little helper opened the hatch to the back of the vehicle and helped me load the packages. When we were finished, he took the carriage to the return spot and hopped in the car.
While he was returning the cart, I was slowly trying to get my sore knee in the vehicle. It took me a couple of minutes to maneuver myself so that I was not in pain trying to accomplish this simple task. When I had finally got myself situated and started to put my seat belt on, I was startled by the honk of the horn coming from the car beside me. There in the neighboring car was a little old lady gesturing with her handicap placard, mouthing the words “You need one of these.”
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was stunned. It never occurred to me that I might need a handicap placard. All I could think is “How bad do I look?”
What I did was cry. I couldn’t help myself. I just burst into tears.
From the backseat I heard, “That lady is a jerk!”, “You are not handicap.”
I couldn’t even respond to my sweet boy. I just cried more. He didn’t realize I was crying and when he did, he unbuckled and climbed in the front with me hugged me and cried with me. He just kept repeating “You are not handicap. You are not handicap.”
At this point I had to pull myself together so that I could talk to my son. We sat for a few minutes and talked about the fact that I can’t do some of the things that other people can do and what handicap means to each of us. We also discussed that the lady next to us probably had the best of intentions, even though she made me cry.
All of this has made me question, what handicap really means to me.
Am I handicap?
Well yes and no.
Is it more than a physical state of being?
I think so.
Am I not being honest with myself about how my body is doing?
I really don’t know right now.
I am still working on the answers for me.