I drove my parents crazy. I still do.
“No wrestling!” My dad would yell at me as he dropped me off at my friend’s house.
Needless to say his words weren’t in my mind when my friend and I were setting up a makeshift wrestling ring out of couch pillows and throw blankets, then went at it until one of us said “uncle.”
I’d come home with bruises from the roughhousing and my dad would take the time to say “I told you so.”
Or when I flipped over the handlebars of my four-wheeler going over 30 miles per hour after my father specifically told me to take it slow, I got the same type of lecture.
As I was flying through the air I distinctly remember time slowing down-my body going limp and thinking “Dad’s going to kill me.”
I drove my teachers crazy too. Insisted on being in college-prep courses instead of the slower-paced courses.
Yelling at my case manager and physical therapist when they insisted on me using my wheelchair as opposed to my walker when I was in pain, when I was in my chair.
In kindergarten, I’d run away from my PT to go play on the swings, or just to get amusement by making her chase me around. (I think she enjoyed it too, sometimes.)
Having a disability means not being able to do a few things that others not be able to, as I’ve talked about before. It also means that parents, doctors and teachers will try to protect their children, patients or students.
Which makes sense, if I didn’t have some sort of guidance growing up telling me that I needed to be a little extra cautious, there’s a good chance I would have broken every bone in my body.
The extra precaution is to keep me from wearing out my shoulders or my knees, breaking my hand and leaving me in a worse predicament than I’m already in.
That has happened on a few occasions.
Like when I fell off the playground ladder and fractured my vertebrae in first grade trying to keep up with my friends; or when I fell and messed up my foot after playing basketball outside with some kids down the street from my house for too long. Both of these I was advised not to do, but I did anyway.
Being told what you can’t do and setting rules is important and, I am by no means telling readers that it’s okay to run wild and be reckless, but what’s more important is using your own judgement. Often times a person’s decision making process is based off of experiences they’ve had before. For instance, I now know my limits, at least for the most part, not because somebody told me what they were, but because I went beyond them and didn’t like the result.
Even with all the bumps and bruises, the time spent being a human rather than a patient was so much fun.
Honestly, it probably allowed me to make more progress than I would have both physically and mentally.
I always enjoy watching the Make-A-Wish segments I see on TV.
Seeing kids who have been through so much get just a glimpse of a real childhood and a real life.
Even when many of them are fighting for their lives, they’re immersed in the moment and the act of actually living.
They forget about whatever is happening with their bodies and just enjoy themselves.
They take a break from testing and the checkups to escape for a few hours. It gives them a moral boost.
It’s good; it’s healthy. Everybody needs those moments.
Only for most people, the medical tests are really academic tests, or work – things that we all have to do Take a break from studying; use your personal days.
I’ve experience a little piece of all the amazing things the world has in store for me.
Do me and everyone else a favor and don’t take life for granted. It’s pretty great. Know your limits though. I don’t want to see you in the police log.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org