At her end of the year school picnic, Namine made some new friends — but then, that’s never been a problem for her. And I was proud to witness her sticking up for herself.
One of the moms had set up a bean bag toss for a bunch of kids. Namine and I were about to head over to the zoo, but she wanted to play for a while with the kids first. That was fine with me, so I asked her if she wanted to stay in her wheelchair or get out. (She had just finished showing Miss Sara how well she walked in her walker, but she had gotten back in her wheelchair to accompany me in putting the walker back in the trunk of the car.) Namine told me she’d rather stay in her wheelchair. It allowed her to sit at the same height that the other children were standing.
Namine has done bean bag tosses before, and her aim has definitely improved. Namine took turns with the other children nicely. Namine introduced herself to several kids, but most of them didn’t seem inclined to talk. Shy, maybe. Namine is many things, but shy has never been one of them.
One boy Namine introduced herself to didn’t reciprocate with his name. Instead, he inquired loudly, “How come you’re sitting in that chair? How come you don’t stand up?”
Namine didn’t answer right away. She turned around and looked at me. I don’t know if she expected me to explain to the boy, or if she was asking permission to explain herself. I told her, “Go ahead. You can tell him if you want.”
Namine turned back to the boy and explained, “I can’t stand up because me and my daddy just put my walker in the car. My legs aren’t strong enough to stand without my walker, and if I tried I would just fall down. So I’m sitting in my wheelchair so I can wheel myself around.”
The boy turned to another kid and said, “She’s too small to stand.”
Namine took offense to this, because it was not at all what she had just said. “I am not!” she said. “I just don’t have my walker right now. But I can stand, and when I do, I stand tall!”
That’s my girl.