A toddler in an emotionally explosive and unstable family has her leg amputated. In spite of significant hurdles, she powers through to become a successful career woman and equally successful single parent.
Wendy Sura Thomson is a 5-star author of Summon the Tiger, The Third Order, The Man from Burnt Island, and Postcards from the Future (as a contributing author.) She has several more works underway. She lives in Michigan with her beloved Setters and covets sipping coffee outdoors first thing in the morning, rain or shine., listening to the waterfall and the birds and watching [often with amusement] the pups explore.
However well-meaning, the world very often makes assumptions that only serve to constrain those with disabilities. People frequently focus on what someone else can't do instead of what they can do.
I have an acquaintance who has a daughter with a cognitive disability. The daughter is married and has a job. She is a talented artist. She is articulate. She is all of that. However, all her mother sees is someone who is "profoundly handicapped." Nonsense. That perception is so very dysfunctional. It is also sadly very limiting to both mother and daughter.
I have spent an entire life fighting to do what I can do. I drive. I mow the lawn. I garden. I live alone. I even move furniture. So to all you well-meaning folks: please - before you judge; before you step in. Stand back and watch what people can actually do. You might be very pleasantly surprised.
Summon the Tiger
I took the school-offered driving class the summer between my junior and senior years. Back then all sorts of programs were offered in public school: we got vaccinations (sugar-cube polio), we took eye tests and TB tests, we took driving. At first the district wouldn’t let me enroll. My mother, never to be slighted, marched down to the Superintendent’s office and started yelling (yes, it was yelling. She was anything but calm and collected), repeatedly screaming that, “No one does this to MYYYY daughter!” Anyway, she cowed the man enough to get me into class. To drive, the only thing I need to do differently is use my left foot, not my right. The only restriction on my license is glasses. My dad said that I would be able to drive a manual transmission if I would listen carefully enough to hear when the gear could be shifted, but that’s nothing I ever did. After I passed that class, my father took me out to practice driving early one Saturday morning in his ’65 Mustang convertible. Sauterne gold with a black top – an awesome car. He had me stop at the bottom of a hill and reached over to hold on to the wheel. He told me to floor it, which of course I was too timid to do. So he yelled at me, and I punched that baby as hard as I could. The car fishtailed all over the road, tires squealing. He then told me to pull over. He very calmly told me that, as I could see, even he was having a hard time controlling the car: I obviously wasn’t going to be able to. I never forgot that lesson, nor the speech he gave me about my needing to be a better driver than anyone else. He said if I ever got into an accident they would blame my handicap and try to take away my license. Words to live by.
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