I remember the first night in our first home. There were boxes stacked everywhere and the only usable furniture was the brand new bed that was delivered a few hours before. When I first thought of buying a new home I was taken with the idea of a high set house. I thought I'd love being up high, having space to store useless things underneath and generally more space. Being up in the trees with the breeze was lovely. I never thought I'd want it any other way until my view of my world changed.
Along came my darling Faith. She wasn't able to go outside very often as I found it hard carrying her down the stairs and carrying her to the car. I couldn't leave her one minute on her own as I couldn't see her and as she couldn't move around or sit up on her own. It was hard. My home, that I loved, suddenly felt very small.
I would view downstairs with longing. Faith loved being outside but with her oxygen and other tubes it was too hard on our own. Even with help it was still a big deal. We would have to connect her to a small but heavy oxygen cylinder. As careful as can be we would slowly take each step balancing the oxygen cylinder and Faith, down the steps.
Though the view from our house onto the tropical gardens was refreshing it slowly ate away at me. It was as if I was in a tower and rarely came out. Just going to the shops was hard, I had to start relying on others to help me just go out. Then one day as Faith slept I sat on the back steps and really thought about the future and what we needed in a home. Our house was just not accessible for wheel chairs or supported seating. Trying to carrying Faith's supported pram up and down the steps wasn't working. We realised it was time to move on and buy a low set home that would have much better accessibility.
We thought finding a home might be a challenge but straight away the ideal house was found and it only needed a few modifications. It was all meant to happen. I tried to view the world from how Faith sees it. Our old house was high up and the kids playing outside and world went by and she was an onlooker. In our new home with ramps installed and a lovely new foot path her world is opening up. From whenever she sits, her view is of the garden, birds, trees and she can see through the main living areas. Faith points to where to push her in the pram (not always getting to the TV as she wants) and very soon we hope she'll have a power chair and she can decide where to go.
My view of the world has altered. When we go out I am constantly looking at foot paths and questioning, is where we are going accessible, is there a ramp? Is there steps? Will Faith be able to see what is happening? Will she be included because sometimes being on the sidelines is not always fun. I look at her world and see how to include her, carrying her over to the fountain to splash in the water, taking her over to the book case to choose a book, pick up some sand or dirt so she feel the texture. There are many ways to include her even just a little. I had taken advantage of my world being able to walk up a hill, run through the cool waves at the beach or ride a bike. It was easy and it came naturally. But for Faith there are obstacles and challenges to succeeding and experiencing. When you just try and look at it differently realising you can carry the pram up the stairs or onto the beach or empty the pram and run the pram into the water just to be crazy. Perhaps even chase a butterfly or swirl round and round. The world brings a different beauty and the satisfaction and enjoyment are more just for looking at the world with different eyes.