I’ve heard people, in my life, say words do not matter. To them, and all of you reading this, I say let me explain why words matter in my life. It all started April of 9th grade. Right after spring break, my classmates and I were outside, on the track, in 5th period PE. Yes, I know how strange that sounds given my condition. That’s another blog for another day, however.
It was insanely hot that day. I was laughing at something somebody said when I felt clunk, clunk, clunk as I rolled along. My front tire popped, just like it had during spring break, in Wal-Mart. Oh, no, I thought. My next thoughts were my teacher is going to freak out and how in the heck am I going to get back up to school to call mom? Oh, no, I thought again. These thoughts took thirty seconds to process.
I wasn’t very logical or rational as a teenager when my chair had problems. I started to cry. My tears caught the attention of my friends, in my class, I don’t cry in front of people…usually. Through my tears, I explained. “What do we do? How can we help?” Our teacher noticed and comes over freaking out only lightly. Her slight anxiety fuels mine. I need a belt so we can tie it around my front caster. That’s what Dad did in Wal-Mart. One of my friends, who is now my chosen brother, went and got his belt from the boys locker room. He tied it around my caster in a knot. He gave me a bear hug, which he is known for, and it made smile a little.
Our teacher asked one of the guys in the class to help me drive, back up to school, by picking up my caster by the belt, like dad had done the week before. I started to panic. My crazy/beautiful journey partner and chosen brother, now; bent down to me. He said, “Stacey, I’ve got you. Do you trust me?” Yes, I’m just scared. “Don’t be, okay? We’ll do this together. Okay?” Okay…together. We did.
Years later: together has become our mantra and the way we choose to live our lives, walking side-by-side, and back-to-back, when life throws us curve balls. Together makes me brave, and cracks me wide open, sometimes. Not everybody understands our definition of family, or what together really means to us.
That’s okay. I like being misunderstood…now. I’ve learned, over time and experience, trying to be like everybody else is exhausting and unfulfilling. I’ve also learned, again, and again, God wants me to be myself, and together, was part of the grand plan all along. God knew I always wanted siblings, and found found a way to give me my wish. I will be forever grateful for such a generous blessing.