myhollydays

A glimpse into the world of the handicapable.

“Q&A”

I usually have strangers ask me random questions (mostly about my differently abledness). I thought I’d just collect a few of the questions and answer them. Please…take notes…take them seriously and try them on someone you barely know. smile emoticon Good luck.

A quick Q&A by Hol…

Q: Should I kneel, sit or squat down to talk to you?
A: Yes all three…and in that order. However, bowing is preferred (and a great alternative if you have bad knees).

Q: Is it okay to use the handicap stall if I am not disabled?
A: No. You will catch my disability (I am highly contagious). I’m only thinking of your well-being and future mobility.

Q: Is it okay if I hold the door open for you?
A: Sure it is. I think it’s polite and nice. Just make sure you bow, kneel, sit and squat as well. smile emoticon Who says chivalry is dead?

Q: What happened to you?
A: As stated in my blog (https://myhollydays.wordpress.com ), I was bitten by a disabled radioactive spider. JUST KIDDING! I used the handicap stall.

Q: Does it bother you that people stare?
A: It depends on who or what they are staring at. If they are staring at thin air and talking to it…I grow concerned and end up staring at them. Do you think it bothers them? Hmmm…..my, how the tables have turned….I’ve digressed.

No. It does not bother me, I know I’m awesome…so people should take notice.smile emoticon

Q: You are pregnant. How does that work?
A: You are observant. It’s like being able to walk (with a baby inside your tummy), only, I sit all the time…and I mean ALL the time. (I sleep, shower, etc. in my wheelchair).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this session of Q&A by Hol

Nothing to prove…

There are so many times I wish I could just grab someone by the shoulders and shake them until they understand, I AM CAPABLE.

I think it bothers me more that people doubt my ability to do things (take care of my children, be a good wife, drive (okay…that’s a separate topic all together), or live a quality life). I have a great life. I enjoy my job, I love my family, I love it all, but it never fails when I am the recipient of an”are you sure?” look or a “you don’t have to prove yourself to me” comment that makes me frustrated at a body that can’t walk, but is so much more capable. It makes me question who I am as a mother, wife or friend. I second guess abilities I KNOW I possess and then I second guess my worth. THEN I remember, HEY!!!! Who do they think they are? OR better yet…. Why do I even care?!  I know who I am.  My children and husband know who I am and what I can do.

I am so much more than my body. I am so much more than my inabilities. I am….handicapable. I can, therefore I will.

 

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Adoption…baby pictures

20131230-002007.jpgI have a friend that has a blog. She adopted two little boys from China. She had a conversation with one of them about baby pictures. She was showing them baby pictures of when she was a day old. She was in her little hospital issued baby crib, her belly button had been pinned up and healing, the hospital issued blanket was displayed around her. Her little boy asked where HIS baby pictures were. He had none.

I don’t remember asking my mom for my baby pictures. I don’t think I gave it a thought until my high school graduation. It was a tradition at our small private school to show a slideshow of each of the graduates. The slideshow consisted of a letter written by our parents and pictures capturing our lives from birth to graduation day. It was a sweet tradition and I had been looking forward to seeing what my mom would write to me. I wasn’t disappointed. =)

However, I didn’t have a baby photo to include in my montage like my classmates. Instead, my slideshow began at 2 years of age. I was a little embarrassed at the fact that I didn’t have a picture of my mother swaddling me at the hospital hours after my birth. To clarify, I wasn’t embarrassed about being adopted. My entire school (all 200 of them) knew about my family and about my situation. I was proud of being adopted. My mom would always reassure me about how she “picked me to adopt.” I was “special because I was adopted.” However, I wanted to be like everyone else and have that infant picture.

Decades later, I still don’t have infant pictures of myself. Instead, I have something SO much better. I have an infant picture of my precious baby boy. I have a picture of myself in the hospital holding my baby just hours after he was born. I have my memories of him growing inside of me. I have pictures of my pregnancy. I have journals I have written before, during and after his birth. I have so much more than I could have wanted as a high school graduate. I was just focused on wanting the wrong picture.

 

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Confessions

Sigh…

I’ve been hiding an awful secret for about three months now.  I thought I could quit any time.  I thought I was in control.  It was only when my husband found my stash, I knew I “might” have a problem.  It wasn’t until I found my own stash…er, rediscovered my own stash that I had completely forgot about…that I knew…  I need help.

Hello, my name is Holly. ***ECHO*** (“Hello Holly”)

I am a chocoholic.

I heard a few of you gasp.  One of you fainted.  Two of you rolled your eyes (and I KNOW who you are…don’t think I didn’t see you…).  Most of you are giggling (probably at the one that fainted…I did too).

It all started on a chilly February Saturday.  Chris, Caiden and I were at Target restocking.  We passed by the chocolates and…well, you can guess what happened.  Like a moth to a flame…it called to me.  The conversation went like this…

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Godiva Salted Carmel Chocolate Bar AKA HEAVING IN THE FORM OF CHOCOLATE (HITFOC) “PSSSST…you there…”

Holly:  (points to myself) “Me?”  (looking behind me…rolling in a circle…catching someone stare at me…realizing it was my reflection in the mirror …making one more circle, just in case…forgot what I was doing…OH!!!!!  CUTE SHIRT!!!!  SCORE!!  SALE!!! WHOOO HOOOO …  Wheelie Dance in honor of 75% off!  Whoop…whoop!)

HITFOC:  (shaking head…sighing…) “PSSSSST…YOU!  The ADHD Korean…!”

Holly:  “Oh yeah…!  You were saying?”

HITFOC:  “I got something for ya.  Everyone loves it.  Everyone’s eating it.  Wanna try?  It’s on sale…”

Holly:  “Oh…I don’t know…Diet, you know…….OK!”

So, you see…it was peer pressure…it was society…I couldn’t help myself!

But it just didn’t stop there.  Chris found my snickers on my desk cubby.  My Godiva Salted Caramel Bar in the Island drawer, my Cadbury Caramel Egg in my nightstand…and (sniff…) my Reese’s under my desk.  Yes…I have a problem…I have a nosey husband.  😛

When my husband finally confronted me with this addiction…I finally fessed up.  I’ve been consuming a bar a week.  AT LEAST…  Then…he gave me three for my anniversary.  I had a friend give me one for my birthday.  The people I love are feeding my addiction.  NOW…I’m not complaining…if anything…I’d like to invite all others to join in the giving.  JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUST KIDDING! =)

Goodnight Friends!

Hold the Door!

I was reading a message board recently. The person posting had a disability and was ranting about how people who offer help seemed demeaning and wished they would back off. I used to think that way. However, now that I’m older (…and wiser…pah!) I can see the situation with new eyes. Here’s an example…

It’s an awkward situation to find yourself encountering a door. Wait…the door isn’t awkward …necessarily…I mean when I approach the door. Well, I’m not saying that when I approach a door that it’s “awkward” per se…just when other people are involved with the door approaching. I digress…

Let me paint you a picture…
Imagine a beautiful, confident, independent woman comes rolling in her cute wheelchair to the door as you are approaching it. Not awkward. You are in a hurry….but…but..she’s almost to the door. Should you wait? Should you keep going? Will you look like a jerk if you just keep going and not wait to open it for her? Should you just say oops as you shut the door in her face? Avoid eye contact as you head off to your next destination? AWKWARD! (Head explodes)

This scenario has occurred on several occasions. Honest! Well, except heads didn’t explode. :)

I got to the door and opened it. I turned around and looked to see a girl in a wheelchair intending to use said door. She was about 2-12 feet from the door and I thought I’d be nice and open it for her. I waited…and waited…and waited… She was further than I thought and I misjudged (shock!) the time I had to get to my next class and the time it would take her to wheel into the building . So…what did I do? What any normal and reasonable person would do. Run! (Figuratively…).

JUST KIDDING! I stayed and chatted with her until she crossed the threshold. This could have been an awkward social situation but luckily I love talking to people. I got to find out more about her.

I’ve seen this happen to me too.
It’s so strange to have someone stare at you for that long (while holding the door at the same time). If you ever want to know what I prefer in that type of situation, well… I don’t care either way.

If you hold the door for me…awesome! I always respect manners and I don’t see it as “poor cripple girl” thing, I prefer to see it as people remembering to treat others with kindness. It helps me remember to do the same for others.

If you don’t hold the door…cool! I understand. You didn’t see me, or I wasn’t fast enough (scoff…! I’ve got four wheels!) or whatever. No offense taken. :)

I think you should always accept a good deed, a display of kindness or a show of manners from others with an open mind. Perhaps their intentions are skewed but at least it will remind you to do the same. :)

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Traveling with Caiden

My five thoughts for the day….You are welcome!

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Wow…!  It’s been almost 15 months since Caiden’s been born and I have learned SO much!  I have a small (yet growing list) of things I would like to share with everyone…

1.  One size does NOT fit all.

When you think about it, that’s applicable to EVERY aspect of a person’s life.  Pants, PJ’s, Bra’s (yes, there is a “one size fits all bra” that comes in small, medium and large…contradicting, I know.) and parenting.  I have parents give me advice…mostly great (buy clothes ahead, prioritize your time, don’t sweat the small stuff), some good (don’t feed your baby after midnight, don’t get your baby wet, don’t…oh wait…that was for my Mogwai…) and some TERRIBLE.  But you take them in stride and I do what I think is best for Caiden.

This is Caiden's FAVORITE game!  =)

This is Caiden’s FAVORITE game! =)

2.  Don’t assume.

Communication is so important in any relationship.  I am still learning to communicate effectively with Chris and with Caiden.  This is (I feel) going to be a life long lesson to be learned.  I guess part of communicating is asking questions but my brain is so ADD I forget.  I also forget to let the other party know that I am making (or had made, or WILL make) a joke.

Funny story…I love to joke with my students!  My freshman are my favorite to play around with.  They don’t realize that I am not the scary, strict teacher that all of their high school expectations has taught them.  Oh no!  (Did I mention I convinced the entire Deaf ed high schoolers that one of the teachers has a fake eye?  Nor had I bothered to tell that teacher until a little later-when the students were staring at her eye-that there was a “rumor” that she had a glass eye, and that I started the rumor.)  I forgot where I was going with this…so, let’s move on.

3.  Ask for help

Swallow my pride.  Ask for help.

I think I do a decent job asking for help when I need it.  Actually, I have worked hard at doing such, BEFORE I become overwhelmed and do something silly.

4.  Don’t eat it if you can’t remember when you cooked it.

Thankfully, permanent marker and ziplock baggies have been my best friend.  So, this issue really hasn’t affected me much.  But I figured, if posting this helps at least ONE person, then, I’ve done my good deed for the day.  You’re welcome.

5.  ENJOY LIFE!

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Seriously…don’t.  I’m watching you.  STOP!  =)

All in all, life with a one year old has been so enjoyable.  I’m learning, I’m growing and maturing.  I realize that my love didn’t grow, as much as it just…became deeper for my husband and baby boy.  I love life.  One does not need a set of working legs to experience this.  =)

Best Buddies!

Adoption

When I was a kid, I never understood what it meant to be adopted. Meaning…I knew that I WAS adopted, I knew that I had a Korean mommy. I knew she couldn’t take care of me, but loved me very much-according to my mom. I just didn’t know what the whole process really meant.

I’m noticing that more and more of my friends, colleagues and people about my age are adopting…it is finally sinking in the reality of adoption. What it costs the birth mother emotionally. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hand over Caiden to complete strangers and trust that they would love him as much as I do. I can’t imagine the sacrifice my mom and dad made when they decided they would take me in. How difficult it must have been to have a child that doesn’t speak their language, doesn’t look like them and have no idea of her full potential (physically, emotionally and academically). I don’t even want to get into how much the adoption itself cost!

I applaud all the moms and dads out there that have welcomed those who are considered “unadoptable” (like myself). Wow…

Now that I’m all grown up (I’m using those words loosely), I appreciate all that my parents did to make sure I felt loved. They did a great job making sure that I knew that I was hand picked and wanted. They pushed me because she knew I could do anything I set my mind to. I am here today, a wife, a mother an educated professional…and able to achieve all that and more because of this great country and my awesome parents. My parents never made a distinction between birth kids (aka the “real” kids as some would say) and the adopted kids (er…fake kids?). We were a family and there was always room for one more.

I do think of my birth mother every once in awhile. I think how hard it must have been for her, but at the same time I am a little bitter at the country that (at that time) weren’t as open minded to disabilities as the Western world.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret…my brain still thinks I’m Caucasian.

…I Was Bitten By A Radioactive Disabled Person…

Questions I had been asked these past few weeks…

“What did you do to prepare for pregnancy?”

Since my husband I decided we would like to start a family, I began researching…a lot!  There wasn’t a lot out there and I didn’t know what to expect.  I contacted other women with Spina Bifida that had children, and asked them what they did.  I also boosted my Folic Acid intake and watched my diet.  I relied on the support of my siblings and close friends (and of course my hubby) to keep me positive.  As you can tell from older posts, the pregnancy went well.  Caiden is healthy and happy.  I am healthy and happy.  I would probably recommend to anyone (regardless if you have a disability) to stay in contact with your doctor, and keep an open line of communication with your health providers.  No one will have the same outcome or the same situation.
“Weren’t you worried that Caiden would end up with SB?”

Yes.  I was worried.  However, God is in control and wouldn’t give us anything we couldn’t handle.  I know this sounds SO cliche…but it’s true.  I think I also recalled something a friend had said to me in college…”What’s the worst that can happen?  Can you live with that?”.  The worst case scenerio would have been Caiden born with Spina Bifida.  It would mean medical issues, complications, possible learning problems, possible social problems, etc.  Wait…that was my childhood…my mother’s worries for me.  Well, I think I turned out fine.  I think I would have the first hand experience to help raise a child with SB.  We would have loved whoever God gave us.

“How did you get SB?”

see title to this blog…

“What difficulties do you face now that you have Caiden?”

I think worrying about him constantly.  He is mobile AND determined…a VERY bad combination for me!  =)  I love this kid dearly…but I can’t take my eyes off of him for second or he’s into something.  As far as the wheelchair and my disability…I’m not sure.  I think adjusting to the crib height.  I also have issues with saliva…need I say more.

“Would you adopt?”

I would like to.  Maybe not in the near future…and certainly not 18,  but we like the idea of a little girl in our family.

Have a question?  Morbidly curious about something?  Send those questions my way!

Memories…!

I found a picture of my mom a couple of weeks ago.  It was so cute, she was so young looking.  It was a Polaroid (remember those?) of my sisters and my mom.  I guess we were on an outing of some kind.  I have my white wheelchair (which was the first wheelchair I received when I was about 16).  I don’t remember what we did that day, or why we were even out, but it did remind me of my younger years (like I’m SO old).

It sparked a memory, however, of a time when mom and I went on an outing.  We had a few of the sibs (Josh?  Seth?) with us, and we took White Thunder (the 18 passenger van) with us.  We were on our way home and the van died!  It was summer, hot and humid.  The area was not the safest in the world, but I doubted any of us gave it two thoughts at the time.  But at least we were in a small city on a small (ish) road.  I theorized that the van ran out of gas…so I told my mom to stay put and I would get some gas.  I don’t know why…and I’m not sure why mom let me! lol  I was probably about 18 at the time…

This is me when I was about 18. LOVE THE BRACES!

I rolled across the four lane road to the nearest gas station.  I purchased a gallon of milk, and went outside and dumped it out.  I filled it with gas and took it back to the car.  To my mom’s horror (delight?), I rolled up proudly with a milk jug of gasoline and not a care in the world.  I asked if she had a funnel…I guess I should have known the answer to that…but I thought I’d ask.  The answer was “no” in case you were curious.  So…I did what any one would have done…I found an old Taco Bell cup and broke off the bottom.  I made a funnel from that and poured gas into the van.  TADA!  It was enough to get us home.

I am always pleased with my handiwork.  My mom had coined the phrase “handicapable” and that was definitely a day she used it.

Looking back, I realize:

1.  WHAT WAS I THINKING!?

2.  THAT WAS DANGEROUS.

3.  I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET.

4.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

5.  Gas was very inexpensive back then…

6.  If push comes to shove…I’ll get it done!

I guess it’s when things go wrong, you get to see what you are truly capable of.  It also allows for good memories and a great story for the kids.  =)

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