The Grass is Greener

Shelby - Wethersfield, Connecticut
Entered on May 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in always seeing the good in a situation. Everyone has those days where they just feel like nothing is going right. Teenagers hate being seen with their families, always trying to rebel and get away from their parents. And for a while, that is exactly what I wanted to do. I was embarrassed to go on vacation; everyone could see my parents in their dorky shorts taking pictures of everything! Man, did I want to crawl into a hole whenever I had to go anywhere with my parents. I though they were the most embarrassing people in the world and I didn’t want anyone to know they were related to me. But then, one year we couldn’t go on our traditional vacation. I hadn’t realized anything was wrong until I got news that we would be traveling to a city two hours away instead of twenty. My dad started taking longer to walk around the house, and I noticed he was working from home more days of the week than going into the office.

Then one day, a van appeared in the driveway along with an electric wheelchair. My dad had gotten so bad that it hurt him to walk for long periods of time. Now, going anywhere with him required planning, finding elevators and handicapped entrances. The doctors still can’t figure out what is wrong. We have traveled to doctors in three different states and yet no one can tell us what is wrong. There is no cure; there still is no one around who can give us an answer. But now, I yearn for our traditional family vacations to Disney World, acting like the biggest tourists Florida has ever seen. I find myself having conversations with my father more often, and not getting annoyed with him as easily as a year ago. If I need to go get something at the store I ask my dad if he wants to come, if he needs anything while I’m out.

My opinions on handicapped people have changed; if I see anyone staring at my dad in his chair out in public I fight the urge to approach them. How dare they judge him like that, they don’t know why he’s in that chair. But even with the looks, I’ve learned to enjoy being out with my dad more than ever. I’m not sure how long I have to spend time with him, since we don’t know what this is we don’t know whether it will get worse than it is. And either way, I will know that I took advantage of the time we do have together no matter how dorky my parents may or may not be.