This is the walker. Squidge loves it but there are versions of me that despise the fact I need to use it at all.
Today was not a day when that fight needed to matter. I had slept horribly on my shoulder and every movement hurt. Today I needed its help.
I dropped Squidge off at playgroup and was already in tears from the pain. I felt so lost and overwhelmed.
And then, walking through town, an elderly couple approached me, joking about not texting in charge of a vehicle.
The lady asked me outright what I needed it for, curious, not accusatory. It felt strange. But her kindness allowed me to a bit more honest.
“My balance is shot.”
This lovely stranger squeezed my hand and said “Good for you. You’re doing the right thing then.”
I really needed to hear that. For once, there was no judgement, no eyeing me up as a fraud because you can’t see my pain.
I went on to my massage. The therapist was so kind and understanding. She knew of cerebral palsy, was unsurprised when I mentioned my muscle tension, or the need to have a bit longer to get undressed. She even offered to help. And I didn’t allow myself to feel patronised. I felt supported.
She worked tirelessly on my muscles and tension. I felt the pain subside, the muscles loosen. By the time I collected Squidge from playgroup I felt human enough to agree to a play in the park.
After the emotional turmoil of constant pain and stress these last few weeks, it was nothing short of miraculous. I’m allowed to be important too. I think I really needed to be told that today.