I was sitting at the school on Sunday after the MS Walk with three six year olds and the question came up, what was MS. I tried to keep it simple, it was a disease, which I had, and was the reason I didn’t walk so well. They were only six after all, and I had to begin by explaining what a disease was.
I thought about this when I came home. The last thing the parents said as I drove away with the youngest kids so the others could continue the walk was “be good”. My kids are very protective of me, appreciate whatever help I can give them, but know my limitations.
When the grandkids were toddlers, I wouldn’t watch them unless we were inside, as they could move faster than I could and safety was then an issue. Later, when I knew they would listen, I could take them to the park and feel in control.
The grandkids play with my cane, something I allow as it takes away any discomfort, makes the cane seem normal. Same goes with the walker. The last thing I want is for these kids to be afraid to come near me because I have a disease.
Now that I think about it, these kids have only known me this way. I went on disability the year my 2nd of seven grandchildren was born. As I’ve used the cane for a number of years, and the walker for the last two, they have only known me when I had a physical impairment.
I guess that’s why I try so hard to find ways for them to remember me for something else, to make the disease the lesser memory.