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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Red Stroller Tag

Upon advice from a "therapy friend", the first thing we did as we entered the sparkly gates of The Magic Kingdom, was zoom over to Guest Relations and ask for a special red stroller tag. This sacred tag was our ticket into the world of special lines and accommodation....because the tag signaled "disabled child on board!" and gave our stroller wheelchair status.

Oh, it was pure bliss to see the look of disdain in the eyes of parents whose impatient and whiney children were waiting with them in the "normal line", as the Disney attendant led us to the front of "special queue". I wanted to scream, "HA! For ONCE, YOU can be jealous of ME!"

I also felt quite deserving of our special red tag. Six weeks in the NICU, a sedated MRI, a sleep deprived EEG, eye surgery, gastrointestinal ultra-sounds, twice weekly physio and occupational therapy, countless neurologist, cardiologist, gastrointerologist, ophthalmologist, orthopedist, physiatrist and pediatrician visits have allowed me to feel deserving. Somewhere in the midst of the special needs chaos, there must be a perk.

Why, then, did I loathe the sight of the special red tag on MY Ellie's stroller? Because, THIS YEAR, it was sadistically fun to overhear the whispers from other parents: "Why do *they* get to go in that line?"

Five years from now, when 8-year old Ellie is in a wheelchair, or struggling to use her spastic muscles in her walker, the whispers will sound like this: "I'm so glad we get to wait in THIS line and not have to use THAT line..."

The priceless red tag is still on our stroller. I saw it this morning as I was loading Ellie into the car, as we made our way to physical therapy, an hour away. I can't decide if I want to remove it. I like the reminder that there are actual positives to this (huge) part of my life. But, I also like to look at Ellie's Babies-R-Us, nothing-special-about-it stroller and think, "She looks like a typical two-year-old in this."

All because of a sticky red tag...


Peitricia Mae said...

You know, my thoughts when I see "privileges" like special lines or parking spots aren't "geez Louise, glad that's not me" or even "how come *they* get special treatment?!"

I always think, "damn straight!" and then I'm glad that at least some people believe along with me that it's simply about making life easier for those who sometimes find it not so easy.

You and your princess definitely *deserve* a special line! And to people who have the short-sightedness to pity you when chances are they'll need some sort of "special" treatment somewhere along the line, too - well bollocks.