Are you a people watcher? Those that pass by you on the street, going about their daily journey. Since we're in the South, most of the time, you get a smile, a nod and sometimes, even an open door. But occasionally, some hurl looks your way that are weighed down with all sorts of innuendos. Most of the time, I'm soooo beyond that. Don't care. Won't give them the time of day, but lately, I've been meeting those glaces from a different vantage point and it's eye-opening.
After having surgery on my foot and leg, I've had to lean (literally) on my family for the basics. I don't like it. No woman does, but there comes a time when the most independent woman must suck it up . . . and lean.
Those things I've learned? First, my children are excellent walls. I should have realized this even before I asked for the first hoist. I recall how all three lovingly carried my mom in and out of grocery stores, the senior citizens center and crowded restaurants because they would not have her sitting home. The kids never complained or thought it uncool to be the in presence of an old lady. Oh, there were senior moments, and times when they lowered their heads and said softly, "Grandma, we're in public!" They protected her, removing 'roadblocks' in an instant. Nothing was going to keep her from the best table, the shortest check-out line, or the front of the lunch line. At 96, she was the most social lady I knew - old, young or somewhere in-between - and I had my children to thank for her last years on this earth being absolutely fantastic. So, watch this folks - as my kids slow my walker on the down ramp of dentist office, rush through the grocery store finding exactly what mom requires, and retrieve the motorized wheelchair at the store (mixed with excitement and embarrassment) - I'm proud that they are there when I need them and don't complain about this old lady. What kind of walls are your children?
Second, I've learned that you never know who is watching. And sometimes they aren't watching what you think they are watching. As I began tooling around on my knee walker and my beep-beep buggy, I watched people approaching just to see where their eyes fell. They were looking down, at my 'ailment'. Not at my eyes for their perception began and usually ended with my 'handicap'. I had a older man stop me at Publix and tell me he saw my son on that contraption and he wondered why someone so young needed a motorized wheelchair. Then he said, "But I see it's for you" and walked away. I wanted to scream after him. "Do you think people with this (pointing to my pink brick) can just walk up to the front door and hop on!" As I passed children, I would hear them turn to their mom and say, "Cool cast." Out of the mouths of babes. Their perception is unclouded and non-judgmental. Lesson learned.
As cliche as it may sound, I have a new respect for those who need assistance to go about their daily life. Simple tasks like pouring cup of coffee, doing a load of laundry and even reaching for the tomato sauce on the highest shelf in the stores are challenging. Those maneuvers are made much easier by people who lend a hand rather than dart the eye. As life gets back to normal and I stand erect, I will be conscious of my movements, my eyes, and most of all, my respect for others. Everything happens for a reason; maybe this was my reason.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.