They sat in a row in the shopping centre, watching the passersby. They were quiet and good. They were adults sitting in wheelchairs. A carer stood behind them looking at her phone. I don't know how long they were there. Perhaps it was only a few minutes, but it bothered me. Especially when I thought about my daughter's future.
There was a sense of disinterest from the carer, and passing shoppers either stared or averted their eyes. I smiled at them, but didn't know what else to do.
I suppose if I was their paid carer, I would have stood where they could see me. I would have explained why they were waiting, and why I needed to use the phone. Even if they were non-verbal and had severe intellectual disabilities and I didn't know how much they understood. I would have offered them something to hold, or look at, or eat, or drink. I would have pointed out things of interest.
Why would I have done this?
Because it's what I've always done with Smiley, my severely disabled daughter.
When she was a baby I would bring her around the house with me in a bouncy chair, just as I did with my other children. I would tell her what I was doing and copy or reply to any sounds she made. Now she's 19 and I can't bring her everywhere with me any more, but I do my best. She does her best too, she tries to talk even without any words. And she loves being around other people and enjoys their company, and people enjoy her company too.
And I've learned that the secret to caring is this: you get back what you give, and the more you give, the more you get back.
Reasons to be Cheerful: Family Fun #R2BC - Late to the party again this week! Hope Michelle can forgive me... It has been a rollercoaster week but I have had a few things that have made me smile: ...