I shouldn't really refer to Ashlea as an elephant...especially seeing as she is getting a little chunky at the moment, but sometimes people go so far out of their way to be politically correct and not say anything about disability that it feels like they are avoiding talking about the elephant in the room.
I caught up with some friends on the weekend that I haven't seen for years. YEARS. We were friends in our late teens / early twenties but have lost contact over time. Anyway, I saw some of them on the weekend (thanks to facebook) and it was a little strange. When I meet other mums of kids with special needs we are not backwards in coming forwards about asking questions about our children, sharing stories, critiquing hospitals and doctors - you name it we'll discuss it. But NONE of these friends asked anything about Ashlea. Not one question about what her condition is. Not one question about if she'll walk. Not one question at all. Not even when I pulled out the feeding tube and gave her afternoon tea in front of them. One of the children had eyes as big as saucers but all the adults were being very careful not to stare at us.
It felt really weird. Not that I want people asking a million questions, but it just seems strange to catch up with people and talk about all sorts of things...yet not mention the biggest thing that has happened in my life. I have a child with a disability. I don't know - maybe its just me, but I find it strange when people don't acknowledge Ashlea's disabilities or the 'bigness' of disability (excuse my poor English there - bigness just seemed the right word).
The other thing about the afternoon was the disabled access at the venue. BAD. I am going to name and shame them (Drummoyne Sports Club) and hope like anything that they never track me down and sue me! Maybe I should write them a letter as well, because it just wasn't good enough. They had a ramp into the club for disabled patrons to use - it even had a sign hung across it saying it was for disabled patrons only. The only problem was that someone had tied the sign to the two railings on either side of the path meaning that you had to climb over or under the sign to get up the ramp. I had to lean Ashlea's pram right back to slide her underneath - all very well for us but if you were an adult in a wheelchair it would have been pretty frustrating and undignified. When we made it to the top of the ramp we discovered that the doors could only be opened from the inside - so you have to stand around outside until someone sees you and lets you in. Again for us it wasn't a huge deal, but if you were an adult in a wheelchair I imagine it would get quite frustrating constantly coming up against these barriers.