Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A brief encounter..

The other day we took Elin to a popular local spot for a day out. It was a sunny day and teeming with people enjoying the weather and the start of the school holidays. We decided to abandon Elin's chair and take her down onto the rocks on the river where scores of families were already enjoying themselves. It meant carrying her, which is getting tricky, but it was worth maneuvering the deep stone steps to sit on the rocks with her and watch her listening to the flow of the river and the splashes of the other kids as they paddled in and out. I had already noticed a few people watching our descent onto the rocks, the unstrapping from the chair, the shifting Elin's weight about on my hip whilst trying not to catch her leg splints. I wondered fleetingly what these people are thinking, do they wonder how old she is, what is wrong? Mostly people just smile, on this occasion we got the offer of some help with her chair which was lovely. Anyway, in terms of people looking (or is it noticing?) I find elderly people and children are the most astute. Nothing much gets past them. So it wasn't long, once settled on the rocks and enjoying the sun, before I saw a little girl. Not looking at us, but staring. Transfixed even. Trying, I assumed to work out why Elin was being cradled like a baby and holding herself like one too but was obviously much, much older. I didn't mind, I really didn't. There is never any malice or ignorance in a child's stare, just interest. Anyway I carried on talking to Elin and Paul and forgot about the girl and her big brown inquisitive eyes. However pretty soon I noticed she was approaching us, with her Mum. Pretty unusual. People, though friendly, seldom actually speak to us (almost as if they are too frightened of somehow inadvertently causing offence. In contrast to this, I, on the other hand will speak to anyone who will listen!). The Mum explained that she had noticed that the little girl, who was six, was staring at Elin. She said that she is teaching her never to stare, but that if you find someone or something interesting or you want to find out about them, then you should just go and say hello. So the little girl said hello (still serious, thoughtful) and I told her a bit about Elin, and why she was wearing funny splints on her legs and that she was smiling because she could hear the other children playing in the river. The little girl nodded a lot. I had a little chat with the Mum then they were ready to be on their way. Before they left us though, I thanked her and told her I wished everyone had the same attitude as she did and the courage to ask about what they didn't understand, even if there is a fear of being rebuffed. So thank you little girl and your Mummy for being brave enough to say hello to us. Would I have approached me had I been that Mum and she been me in a parallel universe? The truth is I have no idea. I wouldn't know then what I know now. My life would be totally different. But I certainly hope I would and would encourage anyone reading this blog to do the same. You never know, it might just make someone's day :-)


  1. Love the post! and love your picture too. I know that in a parallel universe I would have never had the courage to ask me why my daughter is not walking or running and so I begin to understand that maybe there is a reason why I am going through this experience of having a child with cerebral palsy. Maybe because I needed to understand. Take care!

  2. I've just found your blog via Clemmie's blog. My daughter is five and she stares a lot - and I feel embarrassed and don't know quite how to deal with it if she is staring at someone obviously different or with a disability. I'm going to take a lesson from this though.

    1. Aw that's great, thank you. It's so hard to know what to do- Not everyone feels the same I guess but in my mind I would much rather talk to someone-especially children- and de-mystefy it for them a little, otherwise it becomes something scary or strange! It takes a lot of guts to go up to someone though, I was so pleased that this lady did :-) x


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