Must Read Moms: Following Elias
"Handicapped Parking!" Elias shouts when he spies the familiar sign, the way I imagine other 6-year-olds say "McDonald's!" on seeing the golden arches.
As I pull into the space, I ask him, "Do you know what 'handicapped parking' means?"
"Um?," I stutter, realizing I haven't thought the question through. How do I explain this concept to the boy who tromps through snow-covered Anchorage with his forearm crutches, undaunted by cerebral palsy, limited vision, and damaged lungs? Do I tell him it took me months to go to the DMV after his doctor gave us the paperwork, because I couldn't accept that he wasn't going to be the Poster Child Preemie who starts off slow but catches up by age 3? That I still struggle with the term "special needs," let alone "handicapped"?
I peek at his grin in the rearview mirror, see his eyes aflame with joy. "It means we get to park here," I say.
"I looovvve handicapped parking!" Elias sighs, drawing out the word like syrup, teaching me, as usual, that within every hardship, there is always something sweet.