I made an appointment for Noah's haircut this time, making it more difficult to be turned away. Three children all with the name of Noah who also all happened to be three years old, all walked in for appointments at the same time. We all joked with odds like that we should all play the lottery. Ironically, the same hairstylist that turned us away a few nights previous was the one who had to take Noah for his appointment. She was overly nice, asking what seemed a thousand times if we were satisfied with Noah's haircut, hopeful and optimistic about all the things he'd be able to do in the future. I think it was her way of apologizing without really saying the words. I let it be. As really I suppose that is what God's Grace is really all about - Noah has his own ways of wedging himself into people's hearts and changing them for the better. He obviously didn't need my intervention to open her eyes and her heart.
Chris and I took a brave step last night, we all went out to dinner as a family, something we haven't done well before Luke was born. We have a pediatric wheelchair on loan, we don't get to keep it, and we will only have it a few weeks. That is a huge regret I have is letting therapists pick Noah's pediatric wheelchair at only 10 months of age. The dreaded Kidcart. I hate that thing. I seriously hate that thing. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded about what a mistake it truly was. At the time being so very new to the world of special needs, I had no idea there were a multitude of other options out there. The Kidcart was presented to me the only fabulous option for Noah, so it was ordered and received February of 2010. Noah never ever would sit in that chair, he hooked his arms on the rests causing himself injury, his equipment vendor attempted to take the arm rests off, of course disabling the tray feature simultaneously, adjusting the hard foam in the back and seat to make it more comfortable, but that seat was never a match for Noah. Now of course since Noah has at one time been given a pediatric stroller/wheelchair, Medicaid doesn't want to give us another one - even nearly two years later. So we operate only from traditional strollers for Noah. He has no chair to sit up and truly see the world.
I told Chris we need to take advantage of the loaned equipment and go to dinner. Brave move on my part. As I wasn't sure how we'd be perceived in public with an obviously handicapped child in a wheelchair and a small baby. People pass judgment rather quickly. I called Texas Roadhouse, Chris' favorite place to eat, and explained we'd be coming with a wheelchair and needed a sling for a baby carrier, they were amazingly nice and said they'd hold a table for us that would accommodate us. I thought maybe we'd be forced to wait, but we were able to get right in, a table already set up for wheelchair access and a sling to hold the baby carrier. What a relief that it was that easy. We sat down and Chris set Noah up to eat, as he expects to eat right upon arrival. I sat and watched other people watch us. Some looked on with tremendous admiration, offering me slight smiles. I seen pity and sadness in the eyes of others. And even expressions of relief. Relief that it was me - and not them. An expression I'm familiar with, as I gave that same expression to a mother and child in a doctor's waiting room about a month prior to Noah's birth. I was so thankful and relieved that it would "never" be me, as I would give birth to a healthy baby boy. But that is just it - you think things like this can't happen to you, but they can.
Chris and I ordered items from the menu that aren't typical of us, maybe staying with the theme "different is okay," the outing went off without a hitch. And it made me long even more for having a chair that I could pull right up to a table and have Noah participate with us. It was refreshing to feel like we were somehow rejoining the world. Trying to become a part of it again. I think it was healthy for all of us. As we left the restaurant it had grown so crowded that it was back to back people. No one could move. Yet it was like the sea parting as Noah made his way to the door, leading us in his chair, lighting up the way with his ocean blue eyes and tender smile. He was happy.
"Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it's everything in between that makes it all worth living." Sandra Bullock in "Hope Floats."
Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.