Sometimes, I notice things I never would have before Max came along. Like on the train the other day, I glanced up at the electronic map.
There were 13 more stops till the end of the line, and only two were wheelchair accessible.
I wondered how people with mobility issues dealt with that and parents of kids in wheelchairs. I thought back to a mini documentary I'd seen a couple of years ago, The Long Wait. In it filmmaker Jason DaSilva, who has multiple sclerosis, details the challenges he had getting around New York. (It inspired him to create AXS Map, a crowd-sourced accessibility map.)
I stared at the electronic map again as the train rumbled on. I thought about how I probably wouldn't noticed the lack of accessibility if I didn't have Max, and that was troubling. I got off the train at a non-accessible stop, climbed a whole lot of stairs and wondered if Max could have handled them if he were there. I looked up information when I got home: Out of 468 subway stations in New York City, only 106 are wheelchair accessible.
As the parent of a child with disabilities, I care so much about getting the world to welcome, embrace and include him and others like him. It's a shock to my system to realize that I used to never think twice about such things. Who was that me I used to be? How could I have been so unaware?
I carry some guilt about that.
Thirteen more train stops and only two are wheelchair accessible.