Today I decided to take charge of my life. I am tired of being so bed-bound and housebound. My friend drove me to the store and I bought a shiny red walker that has a seat and a snazzy basket! Off we went to Trader Joe’s afterward.

I felt more than a tad conspicuous, pushing my walker. I kept reminding myself that it didn’t matter how I was able to be ambulatory, and I gave thanks that I least I  can walk, even if I need assistance. I remembered when I was 21 and had major back surgery to repair my deforming scoliosis. I was entombed in a body cast for most of my 21st year.I could hardly walk then as well, but I healed.

I remember the stares I got from people when I was wearing my cast.  Now it was happening again. I felt I was a curiosity to people.  People went out of their way to be nice, move their cart for me, or make room for me to get by, but the look in their eyes was often distant. I think “sick” people remind us that we are all going to die one day. Who knows. I just felt like I stuck out in the grocery store like a sore thumb.

My friend left me to push around on my own. (She understood I needed to explore some sense of independence.) I was contemplating which juice to buy, when a most precious little boy walked up to me and asked me, “Where is the tea?” He looked right past my walker, past my hair that needs washing, past my pale face with no makeup, and he looked straight into ME. He was smiling from ear to ear. It was everything I could do to not lean over and hug him!

I told him the tea isle was just two aisles over. He said he didn’t know where that was.  I pushed my walker around the corner and pointed towards the aisle. He was still not sure. I pushed on  further, explaining the tea was tucked away above the coffee. He explained he didn’t want that kind of tea, he was looking for the free tea that Trader Joe’s serves. I giggled. He was oblivious that I was in any way “handicapped.” Leave it to a child to be able to see beyond my limitations and to simply see another human being.

I got home and climbed back into bed. The days adventures were tiring. However, I got out, I grocery shopped and a young boy touched my heart with a smile, and a simple human connection.

Watch out world, Dr. Jenn has  walker and intends to get out and use it!

One day I will be able to put it away. I’ll celebrate that day. Now, I will celebrate that I can walk with assistance.  Yeah!

What can you celebrate today?

To this amazing gift called life,

Dr. Jenn