The day my daughter got her wheelchair

A few years back we were given the opportunity to test an adjustable highchair for kids with special needs at home. My daughter was about 1,5 years old. Reluctantly I pushed the highchair into our kitchen. I thought to myself “No way this chair will last the weekend!”. It’s going straight back to the rehabilitation centre, where it belongs! My little girl is going to learn how to crawl and then, hopefully, she will be able to stand and walk. And we won’t even need all those special devices. None of them! 

It played out differently
Well…, that played out a bit differently than I thought. And right now we have 3 ‘adjustable things on wheels’ in our living room alone. And upstairs and in our car there are some other ‘adjusted stuff for special needs kids’ to be found. Those few years back, I wasn’t ready yet, and I hoped with all my heart that there would never come a day where I did have to be ready. Some things with my daughter weren’t as obvious then, as they are now. It was difficult to estimate how big the gap in her physical development was and, also, her mental disability wasn’t as obvious as it is now. How reluctant I felt then, doesn’t compare to how glad I am now to have all these special devices in the house, helping my sweetheart! They make her life and ours easier.

Baby buggy
Photo property of Simply Different - Momblog
The past five years we pushed our daughter around in a regular baby buggy. And we also had one of those collapsible buggy’s for travelling. Even though she couldn’t sit properly in the collapsible one, we took it everywhere we went. But little girls grow into big girls, and because my daughter could not stand or walk (yet), the time had come for a wheelchair.

A lot to take in
During the fitting I was okay. The wheelchair used that day wasn’t ours, not yet anyway. And because this fitting was just about taking measurements and such, I wasn’t really thinking about what it actually meant. It was all very practical. What made it even sort of cool is the fact that this particular wheelchair can be customized. So I thought, if we can’t avoid this wheelchair’s arrival anymore, then I’d better choose the most glitzy colour and spoke guards I can find. And glitzy it is!
Yesterday the wheelchair stood waiting for us at my daughter’s school, ready to be inspected and to be taken home. After I had picked my little girl up from her classroom I put her in her wheelchair. She was very relaxed about the whole thing and found it all very interesting. She was even fidgeting with the wheels. And while my darling was discovering her new chair and the physiotherapist together with the occupational therapist were checking everything, I got a lump in my throat as reality hit me: gosh… this is it. Her wheelchair. It was quite a lot to take in.

Going for a test drive 
That afternoon my daughter and I took her new wheelchair out for a spin. The sun was shining and my special needs girl, as always, was having a very good time being outside. She approved of her new wheelchair. As for me, while we were walking along, a mixed bag of emotions overtook me. I felt grief, because this was yet another step we had to take in our special needs life. It confronted me with the fact that everything in our life had turned out differently than we had anticipated or wished. And yet I also felt at peace. It was okay. She was okay. We were going to be fine.

Thinking of it all in retrospective, most of all, I feel proud. I am so very, very proud of my sweetheart in her new, pink wheelchair. Together we will have some great adventures while we are out on our walks. And I hope that when people see us, they see what I see: a tough, sweet little girl in the coolest, most glitzy ‘ride’ I have ever seen!


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