Jacob has started kindergarten and his level of maturity has sky-rocketed. That’s great for him and us as family. Our conversations have changed into something more in-depth. He has a better understanding and gut sense of what he hears and takes it in appropriately. With that he’s learning a reality of having a wheelchair daddy.
A few months ago, I wrote about his curiosity about why I use a wheelchair and why I don’t walk like mommy. He understands, at a 5 year old level, that something went wrong when daddy came out of Grandma’s belly. He’s good with that. Now at the ripe age of 5 he is learning the cruelty of society and some realities of having of having a dad who uses a wheelchair.
I’m just dad to Jacob but I believe he knows I’m different. A few weeks ago, I got confirmation that Jacob knows I’m different. The way I learned this would not have been my first choice. But, nevertheless, it is what it is. It was a Saturday afternoon. I had to go get everyone lunch. Jacob wanted to ride along. Sure! Come on Buddy I said. Like we always do we went through the drive-thru. With my speech impediment, combo meal numbers make going thru the drive fairly easy. But, at Culver’s there are not any combo meal numbers. I didn’t know this until I was in front of the drive-thru menu. While I was ordering the young lady taking the order began laughing, I have a speech impairment that’s more apparent when I have to speak loud, Jacob asked in stern voice “Is she laughing at you?”
Protective Dad mode kicked in! I said, no buddy … she probably just dropped something… no biggie. I drove around to the window to complete my order. There were 5 people standing there with grins on their face. I glanced back at Jacob in the review mirror. I could tell he was mad. Nothing particular. I just know him – he was NOT a happy camper! Have you gone 20 minutes in a car with a 5 year old who is quiet and not sleeping?
When we got home I pulled Rachel to the side and told her what occurred. Rachel, being the incredible mother she is, asked Jacob what happened. He told her everything. We talked to him about what happen while we ate. He took everything in okay. While we were finishing lunch; Jacob looked at me and said “Dad, next time I’ll order and you pay.” I just said okay, but my heart sank thinking he felt like he had to take care of me.
A couple of weeks went by and I met with the franchise owner and explained what occurred. He was apologetic and invited us back.
We went back this past Saturday. They gave Jacob a full-size Culver’s football. We wanted him to know why they gave him the ball. Rachel said the football was to apologize for what happen when you and Daddy came. Jacob’s response – “When they laughed at my daddy?”