When I was young, I always dreamed of being a writer.
I would write short stories. Mostly horror since Stephen King and R.L Stine were my favorite Authors.
At Fifteen, my dreams took a shift. I was blessed with an amazing little angel, but because of a medical mistake, my daughter suffered from seizures. Which led my daughter to being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
I soon realized that my life was going to be consumed with a lotof therapy and doctor appointments.
My mom insisted I go back to school and graduate high school. My sweet mom took care of Ciara while I attended high school, graduated, and while I attended college.
I was unable to finish College due to Ciara’s needs getting more demanding.
After years of therapy appointments, doctor appointments, SSI meetings, fighting medicaid and her daily care, I feltdepressed.
I did what I had to do but never went above and beyond for Ciara.
Ciara grew closer and closer to my mom because my mom gave her the attention she craved.
I was hurt that Ciara loved her more and couldn’t figure out why she didn’t love me asmuch as my mom.
After many prayers, God opened my eyes!
I realized, Ciara didn’t ask to be born to a single, Fifteen year old mom, and she sure didn’t ask for a medical mistake to take place that led her to having to struggle for the rest of her life.
I sat back and saw how strong my daughter is. I saw the impact she has on others in her life. I saw that my girl has a purpose in life, greater than I can ever imagine, and I was very blessed to be a part of her journey.
Ciara has the kindest heart, and the best outlook on life. She warms people’s hearts with her amazing smile. I am very lucky to have her call me mom.
Now, I live for her, to help make all her dreams come true, and to make sure she always has a reason to smile.
Of course, I still live my own life. I go out with friends, not as much as I would like, butlife gets in the way of that.
I also make sure my son always knows that I love him. I try to spend extra time with my son and husband, so they don’t feel like my whole life is about Ciara.
Ciara is my best friend, and I can’t imagine my life without her. I am so proud of the young lady she has become. Ciara and I are a team so, when she succeeds, so do I!
Of course, I haven’t given up my dreams of writing. I have my blog, and I hope to one day, write a book about Ciara. My dreams are just on hold, just untilGod let’s me know it’s time.
Of course, I’m not saying you have to give up your dreams, if you have a special needs child. I know a lot of verystrong moms that do it all. Putting my dreams on hold, was just what I felt was best for my child.
Don’t give up on your dreams, just put them on hold!
As some may know, my daughter ,Ciara, recently started her very first job.
In summer of 2021, I heard about a coffee shop called Bitty & Beau’s was coming to Waco and they were going to be hiring people with disabilities.
Ciara and I decided to attend the job fair, just to check it out. We didn’t get our hopes up, in fear of the job not beingaccommodating to her needs.
We soon realized they were interviewing applicants that day.
Ciara was doing so good in her interview, without my help. That’s when it sank in that this could happen, my baby girl, could get this job.
A few weeks later, I received THE e mail… Ciara got the job! They wanted to give the news to all the employees together at one event. They disguised the event as a wiffleball tournament at Katy BallPark in Magnolia Market.
When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with popcorn and lemonade.
Ciara was a little confused but was excited tosee what a whiffleball tournament was.
The field was bombarded with people holding signs saying “You Got the Job“.
Mark and Amy Sauer (the owners of the Waco location) and Grace Casper (general manager of the Waco location) entered the field holding Bitty & Beau’s aprons.
They called each employee, one by one, to come up and receive their apron.
To say Ciara was excited is an understatement.
It was such a special moment for all the employees, families, and friends.
Ciara has started her new job at Bitty & Beau’s, as the drink caller. They have a veryunique way of calling their orders. After you place your order, you are given a playing card, when your order is ready the caller calls your card.
Ciara couldn’t be happier with her new job. They have accommodated all her needs and made her feel like an adult.
We really never knew if this could bepossible for Ciara. For her to be independent at her job and in a safe work environment.
I feel like Bitty & Beau’s made a dream of Ciara’s cometrue.
I can never thank them enough but I would like to to say thank you to Mark and AmySauer (the owners of Bitty & Beau’s Waco) and the Founders Ben and Amy Wright.
When you have a child in a wheelchair or if you yourself are in a wheelchair, you notice accessibility problems in OUR World.
Most people never notice these problematic situations, unless you have experienced such problems. I know that I never noticed accessibility problems until I had a special needs child.
In a perfect world, everything would be accessible for these amazing people, people that have to face struggles everyday. Why should they have to struggle with accessibility.
My dream would be that every business, house builder, and individuals in the community would consider people with disabilities and make every place accessible.
Here are a few of My Accessibility Dreams.
Every business should have ramps for wheelchairs. When Ciara is in her power chair, there is no way to lift it over a curb, it is extremely heavy.
You would think every place of business would have ramps, but we have ran into obstacles at places such as Churches and older buildings.
I wish every place would have automaticdoors or a button to push that allows the doors to open and stay open long enough for a person in a wheelchair to get into building.
Ciara is fortunate enough to have me accompany her to open all doors for her, but I can’t imagine how hard it is for independent people in wheelchairs to open the door and to maneuver into the building. People are notalways nice enough to open doors for people with disabilities, and automatic doors give people with disabilities the freedom to be independent.
More Accessible Parking
So I know everywhere we go has accessibleparking, but sometimes there is only 2 or 3 spots which makes parking hard for people in wheelchairs.
We have a van with a side wheelchair lift, which requires us to park in wheelchair van accessible spots, the spots with lines on the side, to be able to lower the lift and safely unload a person in a wheelchair.
If there weremore van accessible spots, that would make life so much easier for people who have to depend on those spots.
Save Handicap Parking for the Handicapped.
Now, I knowa lot of people have disabilities without being in a wheelchair and depend on the accessible parking, but if you don’t require a wheelchair, please save the van accessible parking spots for people in wheelchairs.
If you are not disabled, please don’t take the accessible spots, if I can’t find a spot to park to unload Ciara it leads to us either parking way out in the parking lot so that nobody parks next to us, so I can lower the lift to unload her. Or if that’s not an option, sometimes we just have to leave that place off business.
Think About Your Guest in Wheelchairs
This is one of those you don’t think about it unless you havebeen, there kind of requests.
If you are planning a big event, think about your guests that require a wheelchair. Make sure there is spots open for a wheelchair to maneuver and park.
There has been so many times we attended weddings where Ciara literally had to sit in the aisle, that the bride walks down, because there was no place to park her chair other than the aisle.
I know sometimes that’s impossible to do, especially places that have bench seats, but if there is a way to remove a chair for a wheelchair to be placed, they would greatly appreciate it.
Adult Changing Tables and Accessible Bathrooms
Most places have that one stall that is accessible. It’s bigger and has bars installed. It would be nice if there was more than one accessible bathroom but a changing table for adults and children would bewonderful.
There are times I need to change Ciara’s pull up while we are out and I have to do it from her chair. If you have never changed a pull up from a wheelchair, it is challenging for sure.
Cooks Children’s Hospital has a bathroom with a big changing table, with controls so you can lift it and lower it, which is extremelyhelpful for transferring. Butwhyonly have them in hospitals, why not have them in stores and doctors offices as well.
In a perfect world, every place of business would haveseating for wheelchairs.
Restaurants are terrible about not having wheelchair seating. We remove a chair for her wheelchair to fit but there is never enough room. We are always cramped and feel overcrowded.
Also, why do theaters always have one wheelchair spot right in front of the screen?? We break our necks looking up at the screen, it is not a comfortable experience. I have found only one theater that has a wheelchair lift to take people to their seat. It was wonderful! The Hippodrome in Waco is by farourfavorite place to watch a movie.
If you ever had to tell your child “No, you can’t do that because it’s not wheelchair friendly” you know the heartbreak you feel. Having to tellyour child they can’t do something because of accessibility. We tell our kids they can do anything, but then you have to explain to them they can’t do it. That’s the worst feeling in the World.
Now, I know not every amusement park, Waterpark or Parks in general can have everything wheelchair accessible, but why not have some things that people in wheelchairs can enjoy.
One of the many reasons I loveMorgan’swonderland in San Antonio, is that everything in the park is accessible, they even have aWaterpark and photo props that a wheelchair can go behind. Sea world was also surpringly accessible.
These are just a few of the struggles people in wheelchairs face, the list could go on and on.
We face struggles everyday with accessibility, if more people put themselves in the shoes of a handicapped individual, we could make this world accessible!