I love my mom!
Today I spent three hours with her, taking her to an appointment, buying food and treats for her and her dog. While we were at the grocery store I purchased food for my husband and I as well. My mom lives in an apartment with her "chiweenie", Jewel. Jewel is a rescued dog who is part chihuahua and part dachshund. I take my mom where she needs to go, because she sold her car to me, knowing she was not a safe driver anymore. It is my way of showing gratitude both for the years she chauffeured me to teenage activities and for her wisdom in admitting her weakness as a driver. I have never wanted to receive that phone call telling us she has been in a car accident.
In high school and college she patiently drove me everywhere I needed to go as I was afraid of driving. After completing driver's education I needed practice, but I really had no desire to drive a car, so I had no motivation to practice. Eventually, a very patient and special college friend allowed me to use his vintage car to practice behind the wheel in Bemidji. He suspected I just needed to build up my confidence in order to take the behind-the-wheel examination. He was absolutely right and I completely surprised my parents on my college graduation day with a trip to one of Bemidji's local restaurants for a post-commencement meal they never forgot. I drove them there, proudly showing them my new driver's license. Even then I knew I'd show my gratitude by giving others rides when they needed them.
Many people growing up with hydrocephalus have difficulty learning how to drive. Taking their behind-the-wheel examination several times is not uncommon. It's challenging enough being a teenager without adding the pressure our society puts on us to be independent by having a driver's license. After my last brain surgery, followed by cognitive therapy, I was assigned a therapist specifically trained to assist behind the wheel of a vehicle, coaching me and testing me when I was ready. I had to relearn how to use my peripheral vision and to pay close attention while driving. I was nervous about this but in a few weeks --with practice-- I was certified as a safe driver.
As I look back on my life, I see how so many family members and friends patiently endured inconvenience for my sake. I am incredibly grateful for their kind, truly loving actions. My husband has accompanied me more times than I want to admit to the Emergency Department. My daughter had to rely on her dad and Grammie for support through junior high and high school, while I was recovering from the latest hospital adventure. My good friends in Bible study last week listened to me rant and rave about how angry I was about something that happened to me on social media. A friend once painted our kitchen for us when both my husband and I were unable to do it. Our neighbors mowed our grass when we were both having back problems.
Kindness and caring go a long, long way toward building peaceful communities. They are also helpful in relationships with those who have disabilities. True friends will take time for you. And remember to thank someone today for their kind help. Needing help is not a weakness. It happens to all of us. On the other hand, not being able to ask for help is a weakness. We often hide our frailties