I’m often surprised by how tuned in the kids are regarding my disability. A few years ago, we drove to North Carolina for a week at a beach house (it was awesome). After six hours of listening to them squirm with excitement, we finally arrived. Their first words? “Oh no! There’s no elevator for Daddy to get in!” (They couldn’t see it from the front of the house.) What sweet girls!
I’m currently in the process of interviewing potential care attendants, and last weekend I met with several applicants in what felt like a marathon meet-and-greet. Halfway through the interviews, something interesting happened — without saying a word, the girls saddled up next to my wheelchair (each sitting in their tiny child-sized chair next to me) to “help” me interview the applicants. At the end of each interview, they evaluated the candidate by saying things like: “Hire her, she looks strong,” and “We like her, she’s pretty” (that last comment led to a good teaching moment about fair and equitable hiring practices, LOL).
Around mid-day, the girls left the room and then re-entered it with an announcement: They were no longer my daughters; they were sisters (one from Idaho, the other from Florida) who had learned about the care attendant position on Facebook and wanted an interview.
I penciled them in, and Casey took video of it on my iPhone. Here’s how it went down (the sound is a little low so you may want to turn up the volume on your speakers):
They seem to be highly qualified and enthusiastic (not to mention they work cheap)! Boy, am I in luck!
I’m not sure that any of their friends play “care attendant interview” with their daddy, but my girls sure loved it.
It’s hard to express what their thoughtfulness means to me, particularly when it comes to the way they address my physical limitations and unique needs. Sometimes, it's easy to feel insecure about being a disabled father, but the joy that comes from knowing that my girls accept me without reservation trumps any sense of inadequacy and has a very real healing power. They don’t see me as disabled; they see me as Daddy.
And that my friends, is the best help of all.