It wasn't a crazy pageant with spray tans or $1000 cash prizes.
No, this was a down-home local area pageant for fun.
We dressed up. We tolerated the heat. We made new friends.
All in all we had a blast.
The pageant was on Saturday afternoon, and the crowning was on Sunday. Every single girl that participated received a title.
Autumn 's title: Most Stage Presence
Now, this is the ironic part. Autumn could not actually be on stage. There was no ramp. We "modeled" on the grass next to the stage. The grass was hard for her to push through, and she became frustrated.
At first, I was stumped that there was no ramp. I called a head of time to inform them we would be in a wheelchair. I thought that was enough.
However, I am daily reminded how inaccessible this world is.
In Special Needs-topia everything is accessible. We maneuver around the obstacles. We find the easiest route. We park close to the doors. We get tables in the back with more room around them. We have managed.
Yet, there are parts of the surrounding "Normal" world that doesn't cater to different abilities.
I could be mad. I could throw a fit.
It wouldn't matter.
The problem is not that the world refuses to acknowledge chair users, tube users, or any other users. The problem is we don't take the time to educate them.
We get mad.
We stomp our feet.
We throw a fit.
We waste perfectly good opportunities to empower and educate this world.
We are too busy looking at what is wrong instead of acknowledging what could be done.
I'm not saying we are the problem. Special Needs-topia exists. We are loud. We are proud.
I make absolutely no excuses for my children, their chairs, their tubes, their "accessories."
It is who they are. And I am proud to be their mother.
And I have been known (a time or seventy) to roll my eyes and mumble under my breath when we are again reminded of the fact that we are different.
But, I don't want to leave that legacy behind.
We cannot expect the world to understand the needs for our children if we do not understand that those needs are foreign to them.
We did not wake up one day and immediately understand Algebra. No, it took classes, tutors, and tests.
And if you are anything like me, a few really really bad grades.
We all have to learn.
So, this weekend Autumn was in a pageant. A small pageant. A pageant where she was not able to be on stage due to the lack of a ramp.
Next year, there will be a ramp.
Because the education begins now!