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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Freedoms taken for granted. What freedoms do each of us take for granted? This thought occurred to me while walking to the ladies’ room in Macy’s. I was out with my sister-in-law Laura, Hillary and Anna. Usually I’m out with Hillary alone and a trip to the ladies’ room is inconvenient at best. I appreciated the chance to have the freedom to go alone. It got me thinking about the freedoms that we all may take for granted that others might give their eyeteeth to have.
I enjoy the freedom to go places alone with Hillary due to the wheelchair accessible van that we have. Even when I’m cursing about the malfunctioning door on the ten-year-old vehicle, I’m aware that it has served me well. It has given our family the freedom to go wherever we desired or needed to. I’m thankful for that. It’s partly because we have the van we’ve been able to lead as normal an existence as most families in our community. I cannot imagine life without going shopping, visiting family, and keeping appointments needing only to strap the wheelchair into the van and go. Sometimes I take this freedom for granted, forgetting that not everyone is as fortunate. Some people must move their family member from the wheelchair, into a car seat, back into the wheelchair upon reaching their destination. Even more restrictive is having no way to travel with a family member who has physical disabilities.
I have a friend who has an eighteen-year-old daughter who has multiple disabilities. She is a delightful child, but cannot be left alone. Every summer her daughter goes to sleep away camp for 6 weeks or so. During this time, my friend is able to enjoy a freedom that most of her friends take for granted. The freedom to come and go as she pleases, or participate in activities her daughter cannot, without having to make sure there is someone to care for her. She takes full advantage of this freedom because for the rest of the year she is tied to the schedule of her daughter’s school, activities and needs.
I have another friend whose daughter passed away a few years ago. She has more freedom now than ever, yet she would give it up in a second to have her child back. She yearns to have the freedom to hug her little girl whenever she feels like it, but never again will she have this. Do I take for granted the freedom to hug Hillary as much as I wish? Yes, sometimes I do. I think it’s human to take for granted what we have around us every day thinking that all the world is the same as it is for us, forgetting that somewhere there is someone who would love to be in our shoes.

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