I really like not being noticed. I’m an introvert. A wallflower. I like blending in, minding my own business, and retreating to my own space with the few people I am truly comfortable with.
This, among other reasons, is a big insecurity as it relates to being Kiran’s mom. We are noticed everywhere we go. Not only is he in a wheelchair, but we picked a bright orange and blue wheelchair (his dad’s favorite color and mine, not related to any sports team). He is often excited when we are out in the world, and he, unlike me, LOVES engaging with people. He’s a social butterfly. Where I try desperately to avoid eye contact with people in public; he seeks them out by looking at them and increasing the volume of his voice until they make eye contact with him.
He stretches me. There are growing pains in this area.
We are going to an event tonight I have been excited about since I first saw it as an option. Kiran will be getting his first live theater experience at the Civic Center. We don’t watch much TV, but this is one of three cartoons we do watch (and my favorite, I think, of the three, which includes Sesame Street). We will be experiencing Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live.
Events like this require planning. I can’t just go online and buy tickets and move on with my day. Kiran needs wheelchair accessible seating, and he needs it close enough to the stage that he is able to see what is going on. Though we aren’t clear exactly how much his vision is impaired, I do know that if we were too far back, he wouldn’t even know what he was supposed to be watching. Both people I spoke with at the box office were incredibly helpful, and we managed to get a wheelchair accessible seat with two seats beside it right up front.
Still, my anxiety is high. I just don’t know how it will all … work. I’m thinking about parking and getting there from where we park…I’m thinking about everyone watching us as we make our way, navigating this experience for the first time, to the front of the auditorium…I’m thinking about how loud he might be as he gets excited during the performance. I’m thinking about how, as much as I might like to, there is no being invisible in the world. Not that I think everyone is constantly watching us – but we are noticed. Stared at. Commented upon.
This isn’t anything foreign to me. New experiences always cause a level of anxiety in me. Even if I were just going to a show (which would not be for the first time, actually), I would have a certain level of anxiety about how the evening will go. It’s par for the course. But this feels…bigger, somehow, and far more important. I so want this to be a positive introduction for Kiran – I want him to love live theater as much as I do. And I really feel he will. I really do.
All of this to say – I’m excited. I’m nervous about the logistics. I’m still learning how to navigate the world with Kiran and his chair. This is new and feels scary to me. But I know it will be worth it.
I can’t wait to watch his face throughout the show.