Coming out


See, telling friends isn’t the difficult part. The real grey area is telling acquaintances one used to make polite conversation with. It doesn’t help that my voice sometimes abruptly stops working whenever I get emotional. It even happens when I’m speaking normally. I started avoiding contact and prefer someone stays by my side to assist me in case things go awry. It really impacted the kids, too. However, it’s amazing how accepting children and how well they adapt to new circumstances.

There are lots of new appliances in our home: a lift, a wheelchair, a raised toilet, a tricycle. The lift was immediately tested and approved by the kids. They especially like playing with the buttons. Floor is troubled, however. Neighbourhood kids are kept outside. Recently, when one of them asked why there is a wheelchair in our car, Floor didn’t answer and went inside. There she told me that she found it difficult to tell them. I thought that they wouldn’t mind the wheelchair in a theme park, but when I suggested a fun day out Ward said: “No, let’s not go to a park, otherwise mama would have to go in a wheelchair.” Obviously it’s more of a sensitive issue than I thought. It’s logical. At the park the kids bickered about who would be allowed to push the wheelchair. They sat in my lap while Hein carted us around. It is nearly Floor’s birthday. It won’t be an easy one for her. On the whole they are most gallantly dealing with the current circumstances: being helpful, accepting and supportive. Ward keeps tally of every time I take a tumble. “That’s the fifth time, mum.” Floor panics whenever I fall.

And then there’s the tricycle. Really coming out. The neighbour immediately asks what’s the matter. “Yeah, a muscular disease”, I said with a cramped mouth, but I’m in a hurry, so off I go. Last week the same thing happened with another neighbour. There’s a street barbecue on Sunday. “Just go to the barbecue,” I thought, “but don’t arrive too early and make sure there are other people sitting with us. The kids would like that.”

see also: “Scooter adventures”