weekend adventures

Chris and Chewy being cute (as usual):

Hi there! Before I say anything else, I just want to wish everyone a happy summer! I know it hasn’t technically begun, but the weather is warm and my schoolbooks are away. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s summer! And with summer days, of course, come fabulous moments spent with family and friends. This past weekend was a pretty awesome way to ring in the high temperatures and the fun. On Saturday, my boyfriend Chris and I took his little brother and his family’s dog to their grandparents’ house for an indoor picnic (since it was kind of rainy.) I should probably admit here that I’ve always been nervous about how his family would react to my limb difference. I want to seem like a model girlfriend who is perfect for their Chris, and an obvious physical disability seems to be the antithesis of perfection. So suffice it to say that I was pretty nervous at the start of the day.

Chewy wanted to drive:
Like all great adventures, of course, our journey involved a few pitstops. We headed to Home Depot first to pick up some supplies for my house (since my parents are remodeling some rooms.) Already anxious and therefore more aware of my arm than usual, I did the only thing that would relieve the tension and help my mood a bit: I offered to carry the dog, Chewy. I placed him securely in my oversized handbag a la Paris Hilton and navigated the aisles of the store with the boys. I quickly discovered that carrying an adorable toy poodle around actually drew more attention to me. But it was different this time because people were smiling and interacting with Chewy rather than staring at my hand and feeling sorry for me. So that was my first realization of the day: a cute dog really does lift spirits – and not just my own! Although my dad is not a fan of puppies, I plan to get one the second I get my own place. After all, the two cutest things in the entire world are puppies and babies.

Speaking of babies, Chris’s toddler cousins also happened to be visiting their grandparents that day. The four-year-old boy, bright and energetic, ran around the yard hoping I would try to catch him. After a dozen or so rounds of Tag, he approached me and asked about my prosthetic hand. I told him that it was my “special hand.” Being a kid, he begged me to try it out for himself. He even tried to pry it off so that he could play with it. I found this incredibly endearing and pretty funny. It’s interesting how something most people see as a huge flaw that should be ignored becomes an intriguing potential toy to a toddler. Second realization of my Saturday: kids will be kids and won’t necessarily care about the things the world expects you to be self-conscious about. They’re blunt, curious, and innocent – and that’s the most refreshing and organic reaction anyone can hope for.

Brandon, the coolest 11-year-old on the planet: 
And this reaction isn’t just limited to toddlers. By the end of the day when Chris was driving us back to my house, the temperature had risen and the air felt unbearably hot. It was definitely way too hot to be wearing a heavy artificial arm. So I pulled it off and left it in my handbag (We left Chewy with Chris’s sister, so he wasn’t in the handbag anymore by this point.) To my surprise, Chris’s 11-year-old brother Brandon said absolutely nothing about my lack of a hand. He had never seen me without the fake arm before, so I was expecting him to say something or at least ask about the little arm. But he never did. He just acted the same way he normally does.

When I mentioned my unease to Chris afterwards, he just smiled. “You see?” he said. “Like I’ve always told you, there are lots of people out there who are not going to care about your arm at all. It’s not even going to register to them because it’s so minor and because they get to know you for who you are. Brandon asked me about it once over a year ago when you and I started dating. So now he knows and it doesn’t matter to him.” So yeah, there’s realization number 3: To most people, something as minor as a limb difference isn’t going to matter. Note to self: stop being so paranoid!

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

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