When I was a kid I had a speech impediment. By the time I was three words were coming out at a rapid pace with slurs, stutters, and untameable excitement. My parents enrolled me in a special ed school for speech lessons.
Everyday my parents would put me in a fabulous frilly dress, comb my long dark hair, and drop me off at my grandparents house before they went off to work. My Grandmother would walk me down her driveway and we would wait for the bus together. Other full size yellow buses would roll by with kids laughing and peering out through the windows. I waited for the short bus
Even at a very young age I remember feeling frozen at times on that bus. I didn’t understand why Michael and Jenny were in wheelchairs, why their bodies were frozen or why they couldn’t get up and sit next to me to talk to me. I had so much to say!
I would quietly watch as the teachers spoon fed the kids in wheelchairs as I ate my dry fruit loops out of a plastic bag. I remember feeling like my body was frozen and numb like theirs too as the wheels in my head were trying to figure out what was going on and why they couldn’t run around outside with me, why they couldn’t move.
I would go home and tell my parents how Michael had these shoes that were so bright white and clean. "They are never dirty!" I would exclaim.
Even though those days are now so distant in the past they instilled a deep sense of gratitude for the ability to move. I am very grateful my shoes get mud on them and wear out.