Monday, December 23, 2013

The Strange Things People Say...

When we bump into people we haven't seen for awhile Ashlea loves nothing more than to show them her 'party trick' - that is - her newfound ability to walk.  Most people respond with excitement and encouragement and tell her how well she is doing.

Not everyone though.

Today she showed off her party trick and got a rather strange response.  Instead of being excited for Ashlea's progress the person said:

What a relief.

What the hell does that mean?

A relief for who?

For Ashlea?  

For me?  

For the other person???

I am not 'relieved' that Ashlea can walk.  I am delighted for her that she has this freedom and independence and that she gets so much enjoyment from being able to walk, but I am not relieved. It's not like her life suddenly now has meaning or purpose just because she can walk.  Did it not have meaning before?  Is everything OK now that she can take a few steps?  Was it not OK before?

Do people really think like this?  Do people really still think that quality of life and meaning are tied to a person's ability rather than their humanity?

Ashlea's value as a person has not changed since she has learnt to walk.

We don't love her any more now.

Her life has value and meaning simply because she exists.  Because she is a human being.  Value and meaning and quality of life are not tied to performance or success.  They just are.

3 comments:

ferfischer said...

My favorite line "Do people really still think that quality of life and meaning are tied to a person's ability rather than their humanity?" - So true.

Anonymous said...

maybe it was a relief like breathing out when you've been holding your breath. When you posted the video of Ashlea standing herself up- I didn't realize I was holding my breath- I was too busy silently saying "come on, baby- you got this---" until I exhaled.
Sally in CT USA

Sadia said...

I just wanted to let you know that yours is a featured post on How Do You Do It?! http://hdydi.com/2013/12/30/parenting-link-5/