Pave paradise, put up a parking lot

November 10, 2010

Where's the wheelchair ramp? (photo by Jeff Hester)

I’m pretty sure Joni Mitchell was being ironic when she said that, but the thing is, an unpaved paradise…not wheelchair accessible. Other things that are not wheelchair accessible: the beach, the Grand Canyon, anywhere with lots of snow on the ground, and the picturesque spot next to a waterfall at the bottom of a rocky slope where my husband proposed. Which my daughter will never see.

I’m usually a look-on-the-bright-side kind of person, and my default attitude about having a kid with a disability is “No problem–it won’t hold us back any!” But this way of thinking is a privilege that comes with living in a world full of technology. And sidewalks. And there are places where technology (and sidewalks) can’t, or shouldn’t, go. And sometimes, when confronted with these inaccessible paradises, I have to admit that living with a disability (your own or someone else’s), well sometimes, it kinda sucks.


2 Responses to “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot”

  1. zygzag Says:

    Reminds me of taking M. to the Kenny Chesney concert. It wasn’t that I thought Kenny shouldn’t have lights that might trigger her seizures or that I thought it was appropriate to put her in the pit (is it a pit in country concerts?). It’s just, well, it sucked that it was so damn hard.

  2. Jon Says:

    Thank you Camilla & Zigzag for acknowledging the suckiness of these situations. While celebrating the positives in living with disabilities is important, I think that if we do not occasionally let ourselves grieve over those things we and our kids with disabilities miss out on, we do more damage than good. When we overdo positive thinking by aggressively chasing off thoughts, words and experiences that cause us discomfort, we are unconsciously teaching our kids that it’s not okay to accept and understand the reality of their conditions. As Chris Crutcher once put it, “When you don’t grieve what you’ve lost, there’s no room for anything else to come in and replace it.”

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