This isn’t a story about what we did or where we went. This is a real-life story about friends — when they cared, how they helped in tangible ways, and what that meant.

I went to a baseball game earlier in the month. If you don’t know me, you might assume my parents came along for a couple of reasons: 1) I have a physical disability; 2) I don’t drive; and a bonus, 3) I need help with those limits I’ve learned to face.

My parents didn’t go or drive me to the game. I left them at home. It was a night out with friends.

Over the years, I’ve always been thankful for friends, the people who gladly enter my world and welcome me into theirs. These are the ones who know I struggle to really see my disability. I am aware of things I can’t do (by myself), but that doesn’t stop me from trying. All I need is a little help and someone to lend a hand.

The night of the baseball game was no different. I watched as these friends cared in tangible ways.

One friend drove my van.

Two friends moved a seat so I could park my wheelchair.

Another helped me eat a snack.

And the whole group stood by ready to help me over a railing.

The official spots for wheelchairs only allow for one friend to sit with me and I wanted to sit with everyone. We could have chosen the “easier”, longer route of walking around the corner and down a few steps. But I have a bit of a wild side in me…an adventurous spirit…I wanted to jump over this literal obstacle and I did. Because these friends jumped right in.

I had a moment where I looked at these friends and thought, “Wow. I didn’t grow up with any of these people, but I’m so thankful they are in my life now. They aren’t afraid to help and they make me feel normal.

That night has reminded me how some of my favorite moments are when I feel normal. I come back to that word a lot in my mind. I see normal. I feel normal. I value the people who see me in this light, whether I knew them in childhood or not.

My needs and any obstacles weren’t the focus of the night. I had these friends with me. In the middle of simply having fun, we were living out an example of caregiving in action.

Caregiving doesn’t always come from my parents or specific trained individuals. Caregiving can happen while I’m enjoying life with my community.

To these friends and all who care in tangible ways, THANK YOU. It feels easy and simple in the moment, but it means more than you realize.

  • If someone needs help, don’t be afraid to lend a hand.
  • However small, care for that person in a tangible way.

Be willing. Put caring into action. You will bring joy.

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