Sunday, May 11, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Baby carriage next to a wheelchair, both viewed from the front, baby in carriage, young adult woman in wheelchair, turned to her left to talk to the baby, with the baby looking at her
I have posted this before, and I don’t even know if it’s an actual motherhood photo, but it feels appropriate for Mother’s Day.

From the Rough Pix Tumblr blog, via disABILITYaware.

Weekly Wrap-Up

Disability Thinking Weekly Wrap Up in white letters superimposed over sepia-tone photo of handicapped parking spaces
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

One of the things I will always appreciate about my mother, Claire, is that she always treated me like a person.

She used to say that she enjoyed her two kids much more when we got older because you can't have real conversations with a baby. As we got older, we got more interesting … not easier mind you … more engaging. In other words, at some point we became people to her. I never felt like Mom saw me as anything more or less than a person, never a symbol, a message, a burden, or a reward. In her eyes, I didn’t represent or mean anything but myself.

At the same time, Mom was definitely the sort of person who thought that individuals were important mainly in terms of what they did. She wasn't a right winger or a capitalist, so she didn't care that much about whether people were "productive" or "successful", but rather that everyone should fulfill their potential and add something to the world.

Mom didn’t have much of a direct influence on my disability consciousness, because I don’t think she ever adopted any distinct personal theory of disability. I think for her, disability was just a thing that happened, not something you had to think about much beyond practicalities. That was pretty much how I viewed my disabilities until well into adulthood. And even though I now wrestle with the social and political aspects of disability, personally, I still tend to think of my own disabilities in purely practical terms.

That's fine. Mom helped me become a person, and appreciated me as a person, which gave me a strong base to build on. I think that's the best thing parents of a disabled child can do. I don’t spend a lot of time these days actively missing Mom, but I often wish I could discuss ideas about disability with her now. I wonder what she would think? I do know it would be a great conversation.

Here are some of my favorite photos of my mother:

Black and white photo of three youths standing in a row in bathing suits, on a rock, near water and trees
Mom and her three siblings. From the left: Dana, Barbara, Claire (Mom), and Kit.

Black and white photo of young man and young woman seated next to each other in the back seat of a running motorboat
Mom and Dad (Peter), I think shortly before being married.

Professional-style family portrait from left, teenaged boy with glasses, labrador retriever dog, woman seated with baby on her lap, man seated on the arm of her chair
The classic family portrait: My brother Ian, Cleopatra (the dog), Mom, baby Andrew (me!), Dad.

Two adult men standing behind two seated adult women in a posed group photo
The Fearon siblings, all grown up: Dana, Kit (back), Claire (Mom), and Barbara.

Adult woman in sunglasses, sitting in a motorboat on the water, with golden retriever next to her
Mom and my brother’s dog, Opus … A.K.A., Mom’s granddaughter.

Photo of an adult white woman wearing sunglasses, with short grey hair, smiling
Mom … Claire Anne Pulrang, 1926 - 1997