It was your first day of school, and
being more nervous than you,
and trying to hold back the tears,
tears I think most moms experience
when their babies go to school
for the first time.
But for me, that time,
my tears also came
rooted in my past —
my personal past
as a child
who got stared at by kids at school,
especially on the first day,
and I secretly wished you could stay
just a little longer
so that I could protect you from the world,
a world that makes kids see disabled moms
as different and imperfect for the very first time,
a world unfriendly to kids with moms who can’t walk,
a world afraid to talk about any disability
openly and without shame.
Instead I felt
like I had to prepare myself
for the day when you feel shame
about me being your mom.
So on that first day of school, I rolled with you
to your Kinder Garden class,
and you made a little pouting face
as I hugged you goodbye.
I rolled away quickly to not give you a chance to cry,
but more than anything,
to not give you a chance to see that I was
and I sobbed quietly as I left the school.
You got home later that day
with a smile on your face
and a drawing
of me and you at the park.
It was about our magic summer, you said,
and pointed to the stick figure drawing of me in my wheelchair,
and you on my lap rolling happily
toward a smiley sun.
I knew then, you were ready.
You were ready to face the world. You were ready
for that moment I had feared, the moment
when other kids ask you the question:
What’s wrong with your mom?