June 17, 2013

Wheelchair Kids

So I was swimming in the pool and noticed a dad playing with his kids in the shallow section. 

One kid--the littler and younger one--was swimming this way and that and playing in the water.

The other kid--bigger and older--was in a flotation tube, and she was clearly struggling.

First, I misinterpreted the girl wiggling around in the tube as her just jumping around and having a good time with it. 

Then, I saw she was uncomfortable and having some real difficulty, and I noticed the mini-wheelchair for a child parked at the side of the pool. 

I saw the dad go over to her in the water tube and help settle her, stabilize her, and he pushed her hair out of her eyes, and poured some cold pool water on her forehead and over her hair.

I held back tears watching the love of this father for his disabled daughter and for the challenges that the disabled regularly have to endure.

The girls little sister started to jump around her sister's tube and wanted to play with her.

The whole scene was sort of surreal. 

As it happened, a day later another man in the hotel elevator started talking about how he arrived at the hotel but had so many problems: he lost his wallet, his room had a flood and his family needed to be moved, and he was dealing with a six year old child with cancer. 

When I see these children suffering, I really feel emotional--they are too young and innocent to be so sick. They haven't had a chance to fully live and they can't look forward to the same things that other healthy kids can. 

That doesn't mean that they can't live purposeful lives, just that they have great challenges for little people.

I think how terrible it is to be confined to a wheelchair or bedridden--instead of being free to run and play. 

I hate seeing anyone sick and suffering, but with children it's worse, and I remember my dad telling me as a kid when times were tough: "If you want to see real problems [in life], we should go over to visit the children's hospital!"

He was right--I will never forget those words or the plight of sick and disabled children--may G-d have mercy.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Joanna C. Dobson)

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