Monday, June 16, 2014

A Call to Action

Bookmark and Share
Have you ever had one of those moments where you feel like something is pulling your attention to take notice, or calling you into action for a reason?   Whether that is God, or the Universe or something just plain bigger than you, that says something is placed before you intentionally because you need to carry out a purpose.  It is in that moment when the Universe is literally screaming at you to get your attention and there is an occurrence that you might even call coincidence, except for the fact that the timing is too perfect.

I had one of those moments Father's Day.  

Noah decided to wake up exceptionally early on Father's Day,  but he didn't demand anything he simply wanted to squeal and party in his bed for a few hours and then fall back asleep.  Of course when he parties he's rather loud about it and keeps the entire house up.   So we all slept in a bit causing us to have a later start to the day.   The boys gifted Chris with two shirts.  Luke picked a minion shirt (of course), and Noah picked the Muppets.   The boys get tremendously excited about cartoon shirts on Dad.  So much so that Noah refuses to eat until Dad shows him the shirt he wore when he gets home from work.   It's funny, but Noah takes what his Dad wears rather seriously.   Thank goodness Chris is so proud and brave to wear all these crazy kid inspired shirts to work.   He has a wide collection now from Elmo, to Star Wars, to now many minions.

Chris wanted to head to the zoo with the boys and it was the perfect overcast day with minimal heat for Noah.   We packed our lunches and had just finished eating when I realized that Luke needed a underwear/pants change so I left Chris and Noah to clean up and meet us at the restroom area. The ladies room was rather busy.  I walked in and immediately noticed that the handicapped/family stall was being used by a little girl who's wheelchair sat outside the door because there was no room, while her mother was taking off her pants to change her diaper on the floor.   I kind of cringed at the sight under the door.  Because I had a moment of a flash forward to many years... that could be you I thought.   That WILL be you.   No privacy... nothing sanitary... no dignity for my child with special needs.

I refocused my agenda trying to block out those thoughts so I could change Luke and make sure he didn't touch not one thing in this tiny gross stall while I changed him standing up.  I was so thankful that the child I needed to change could stand while I switched out his pants.   I was just pulling up Luke's shorts when I heard a flush and then a mother's cry saying, "Oh my God, oh my God."  I came out to see that the stall next to the mother changing her daughter on the floor had backed up and overflowed and was flowing onto the floor getting her daughter's hair full of sewer water.   The mother was able to get her child up off the floor before he clothes were soaked but her long blonde hair was a different story.  Caked in gross water and debris, we made eye contact and as I watched every single other woman just stand there with blank stares and shock.  I knew that I was all she had.  She lifted her daughter in a panic to the sink.  All I can remember her saying is she's 9 years old, she can't walk or talk.   But I already knew that when I noticed the wheelchair, but she likely felt the need to justify why her child was laying on the floor to begin with.  We didn't have time to exchange names, or stories, or even tell her that I had a special needs child too.  I was wrangling Luke with one hand so he didn't get away from me, and washing and rinsing this child's hair the best I could with my other hand while her mother held her up.

She was crying heavy tears, I started to cry too.  Such sadness that this happened, and to no fault at all of the mother who was just doing her best to find a way to change her daughter's diaper.  I remember her saying thank you many times, and I only remember telling her it was going to be okay many times.   I walked out first when I knew that her daughter was placed safely back in her wheelchair.  I was surprised at how she was able to lift her all by herself as she was a heavier child for her age.  And was worried she'd need help getting her daughter back into the wheelchair but she did it.  Just like any super strong Mom would.   She followed behind me as I scurried to catch up with Chris and Noah, knowing Chris would be worried about what took me so long.  I looked behind me and she seen Noah and smiled and started to cry again.  She then fully understood our connection.  

Sometimes nothing is chance.   I was absolutely meant to be there in that moment.  God called me into action for a reason.   And as life would have it, I learned of Firefly's campaign called Space to Change.  Firefly, the makers of the Upsee and GoTo Seat, sent an email today containing a survey that I'd like to pass along to others about the tremendous need for better changing accommodations for children with special needs in public places.  The timing of the survey is also something bigger than me.  I feel like not only is it a call for change - but the season for that change.   Please take a moment of your time to complete this brief survey so that information can be gathered to support a campaign in order to prevent something like what I witnessed from happening to another parent ever again.

How do you toilet/change your disabled child on days out? We want to hear from you! Together we can lobby and encourage the places you visit to provide a space to change and make Special Needs Family days better!
Please Share


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.