Peter parked the car….after complaining about the gridlocked traffic to get there…but it was worth every second of being stuck amongst the chaos of cars that morning.
As soon as I stepped outside the fresh smell of salt water hit me. I breathed it in….comforted by it. We grabbed our bags and the sandwiches I’d packed and ambled down a twisting track that was bordered with the sweet aroma of thyme. Down through a tunnel and up out the other side to a hidden beach cove sandwiched between two bluffs.
The sand was scorching! I noticed little kids in bright colored swimmers, dipping their toes into the ebb and flow of the water, shrieking in delight, and a father and son throwing a frisbee….while seagulls squawked overhead. Dempsey couldn’t wait to join them as Peter and I parked ourselves on towels, alongside other parents who where keeping an eye on their precious ones.
It was then that I looked around and noticed a rare sight on the beach…..…a child’s wheelchair with big bulky wheels that looked like balloons were strapped to it. I wondered who it belonged to but didn’t have to wait long as I watched a mother take her daughter(who was probably ten) by the hand and help lead her to the cool water.
I didn’t want to stare, I know what that’s like, having been ‘that woman’ a few years ago and getting angry at people for their ignorant curiosity. However I found I couldn’t stop staring! The little girl reminded me so much of Savannah and how Savannah was when her walking started to fade. She looked like a puppet whose strings had been cut. It brought back so many memories and I tried not to cry at how much I wished it was Savannah on the beach with us.
It was never a chore to do things with my disabled child, more of an honor…..that I got to witness the many smiles I did while taking Savannah on different outings…even if it was just to the supermarket!
The lady looked over and saw me gawking. She probably thought, “Look at that woman staring at me with pity because of my disabled child while she has a healthy one!” Now I had no idea if that’s what she was thinking, however I was her once….and would give anything to have had to catch the shuttle bus and have a wheelchair parked next to our towels yesterday.
I felt so emotional towards the girl who slowly made her way to the rock pools with the help of her devoted mother. And that’s what it is, devotion and love and LOVING to see your disabled child’s face when they experience a simple day out at the beach that we all sometimes take for granted. I wanted to tell her I know what her days are like, and that I miss my daughter….but I didn’t!
After they’d past us, I looked over at Dempsey, who was jumping over a tiny wave, laughing and running towards the shore, trying to beat the surge of water quickly catching her. I felt so privileged to be there watching Demps, alive! I also felt almost guilty that I get to have this life I have…..and mixed amongst it is a yearning for Savannah, who no matter how she was, in a wheelchair….or not! I wanted her there.
So yesterday again, the ocean managed to have a profound effect on me. Not just in its vastness and wildness and fierceness..….like life…..but in seeing that little girl with her Mom and reminding me of my little girl who isn’t here.
And as I was trying not to get lost in my sadness at what I don’t have….Dempsey came rushing up, kicking sand on me and dripping salty water on my legs, with a huge dimpled smile and a.....“Want to come jump some waves with me Mommy?” I took her small hand and we ran like the wind, feeling the freezing water shock me back into the present!
Wishing you sunshine and happy reflections if your cup is blue! x