Out of the blue - really from nowhere at all - something occurred to me last night that blew my mind.
Perhaps it's a controversial statement, but I believe it's a fact, nonetheless.
And it's not to put everyone else in my life in a lesser position by any means, but...
Sweetie is the only person on this earth who is as naturally comfortable with me as I am with myself.
As it occurred to me last night, I actually worded it as, she is the only one who knows me as well as I know myself. But, becoming clearer in my thinking and realization, I believe it's better to qualify it as a "comfortability" factor, not a "knowing" factor.
And please definitely do notice how I say "naturally comfortable." Not just "comfortable." There are lots and lots of people I feel are comfortable with me. Hubby, for instance, takes the next spot - if I were to make a top ten list, for instance - as he has become, over the many years we've known each other, as familiar with what I can and cannot do as I know for myself my abilities and limitations. But, again, he had to become comfortable with, knowledgeable of, everything my mind, body, and spirit will allow me to do. So he is not naturally comfortable with me... not in the same way Sweetie is, anyway. Sweetie, who has known me literally all of her life, who has been with me every single day since her day one of life, and just, intuitively, naturally "gets" me and what I can and cannot do. Sweetie hasn't had to learn to become comfortable with how I walk and what I do that may be different from other "regular" moms, or people in general. I am her one and only Mom and she knows no other way of existing for herself. Or rather, she did have to learn, but just in the very same way that any child learns about their own parents.
Just like I know for myself no other way of being. It's not like I had an accident some time ago and I became disabled. I've always been this way. I am who I am - I know it and love who I am, just as Sweetie has only ever known her Mom as such. She doesn't love me "anyway" or "in spite of" what my body allows me to do. She loves me because I am me.
"But what about your parents and brothers," you might ask. "Why wouldn't you put them on your list?" Well, I would, for my time growing up. They were/are comfortable with me and knew/know me as well - or close to as well - as I know myself, of course. But my parents had to learn how to take care of a child with a physical disability. My brothers, all older than me, had to learn what it meant to have not only a new little sister, but one who would never be as physically able as they, their friends, or anyone else they knew were. And now, well, I've been out of my parents house, and away from living with my brothers, for more than 20 years! Now, from them and many in my family, I get a lot of "be careful"'s and "don't do anything crazy"'s and "don't overdo it"'s. A lot of thinking for me what they think I'm able or not to do, and warnings to me to be mindful of my abilities.
But at home with Hubby and Sweetie? They just know. Or they at least know that they can plan whatever activities they wish to do for themselves, and they understand that I will come along with them or not. They know that I know how to take care of myself and that I will do as I can. They don't have to remind me to be sure I'm making the right decisions.
Or, let's say I fall. Hubby and Sweetie just take my falls with a grain of salt. They of course make sure I'm okay, but they also don't become overly concerned thereafter. They don't not let me do the next thing I had planned, for instance, just because this one thing knocked me down (most likely by accident, as I am far from graceful.)
But anyway - back to Sweetie. Another way I can explain it is like this... whenever she's had friends over for the first time, she has never "warned" them that they will find out when they arrive that I wear braces and walk with a walking stick. That I'm different/how I'm different. They just come over. But I'm willing to bet (and of course this is a grand generalization that I can't possibly back up in any way, shape, or form) that, upon my being introduced to new people by friends and family who already know me, probably a fair amount of time those new people are told ahead of time about my disability. If for no more reason than because it's an easy way to identify me in a crowd. But for Sweetie? I honestly doubt if she were describing me to someone who didn't yet know me, that my braces, walking stick, or any other disability-related physical identifier would come out of her mouth. "She's got brown curly hair" or something like that, I think, is what she'd say - nothing more.
And why? Because, again, Sweetie is naturally comfortable with me, so much so that she doesn't even see or think about my braces, gait, walking stick, or what have you. I'm just Mom. Just like, to me, I'm just Amy.
She may actually even get me better than I get myself right now! Because I know what I was like as a child and what abilities I had then that I've lost now (I could jump rope, shoot hoops, didn't have a walking stick, etc., as a child.) I do have a sense of my growing older and less ability now. But Sweetie doesn't see that in me. I've aways been the same mom she's known since day one.
So that's my "whoa" observation of the weekend. That literally everyone else in my life, regardless of how comfortable they are and how much the don't see my disability now, at one point or another early on, in our getting to know each other period, did have to learn to become comfortable around me, to get a sense of what I can and can't do. Even my nieces and nephews who have all grown up knowing me from the beginnings of their lives - even they, for as comfortable as they may or may not be now - have had to learn about me and grow into their comfort level with me. But Sweetie? Who's been with me so consistently since her day one? Yeah - she gets me in a way, I claim, that no one else on this earth gets me, other than how well I "get" myself.
I told Sweetie this this morning and I think she not only agrees, but is proud to hold this place in my life. Yeah. She gets me. S'all good.
I still know me the best, of course. But Swee is right there with me. And it's awesome.