Swallowing my pride

Ma’am!  Ma’am!  Strollers aren’t allowed inside.

Did you hear me?

Strollers aren’t allowed.

As I walked up to the table where the volunteer would take our tickets, I hesitated, wondering if perhaps I should just turn around and go back to the car.  I have two little children who want to see the butterfly exhibit, but I also have lymphedema, a swelling of my arm that at times is so severe that it is difficult to lift a drink of water, much less a child.  I’m wearing my lymphedema sleeve and glove, helping to move the lymph around and restore proper circulation, but it takes days to work and sometimes I need a professional’s help.  In any case, I can’t lift or carry my 15 month old for more than a minute or two.

But here we are at the butterfly exhibit, and the ticket taker is bellowing at me, catching everyone’s attention, or so I imagine.  My friend murmurs her help, and I thank her, but this is something I must do for myself.

I walk up to the booth, push the stroller discretely to the side, and say, “I’m sorry, but I have cancer.  I can’t carry my little boy.  Could you make an exception?”

Two supervisors later, the answer is yes, and I am ushered into the butterfly house, only to meet a very tall and very stern man at the entrance.  His words echo through the plaza:

Strollers aren’t allowed inside.

Eventually, the prohibition is lifted.  My friend brings the older boys to the entrance, and we all enjoy the butterflies together.  I spend most of the time crouched down by my baby in the stroller, tears in my eyes, showing Little Bear the butterflies.

Bear and the Butterflies

It was so worth it.

In memoriam: Deirdre D, after a 3+ year fight with IBC.  Deirdre was known to me only through the list, but I followed her battle and mourn for her today.  She leaves behind a five year old son.


20 Responses to Swallowing my pride

  1. flutter says:

    I just went to a butterfly exhibit at the botanical gardens by my house, it was beautiful.

    There was no pride swallowing, simply a statement of fact. You did good, mama

  2. Rules are made to be broken. Why can’t people seem to understand that?

    What a beautiful picture memory.

  3. carosgram says:

    Some people get all caught up in the details and miss the big picture. Sorry you were called out at the Butterfly Conservatory but soooo glad you were able to share the experience with your children. That memory will linger long past you’ve forgotten the officious employee. Thinking of you and wishing you the best.

  4. cousin-in-law says:

    Good Job Susan ! People get so caught up in little things.

    My girls love butterflies. I bet is was a great day.


  5. debi says:

    It’s not just that you are a strong fighter and an amazing mom. This post brought tears to my eyes again. I love that you don’t let em push you aside and hang your head and go home. It’s so worth it each time you stand up for yourself. I love that you are not afraid to speak out. One of the things I love most about you is the way you stop, even on days where it is a struggle for you and you help your sisters who are having a hard time. You have always tried to help others as you walk this path. Happy Mothers Days. You are so special to me. Love, debi

  6. Happy Mother’s Day – I hope you realize how much you affect each & every one of us who stop by and read your words. I’ve always wanted to go to a butterfly exhibit!

  7. NYfriend says:

    Oh WhyMommy, I have tears in my eyes too.

    I’m so glad you are here to share the butterflies with your boys, and to “do for yourself.”

    You may feel as though you swallowed your pride, but it was your pride that really beamed today. What a terrific role model you are for your sons.

    Okay, I’m crying again.


  8. Lisa says:

    I came to your blog through DCUM, and I am almost certain we must live very near each other in real life…today’s post just reinforced that again (I recognize those butterflies!), and it led me to *finally* write to say: Your writing is a treasure. I hope our paths will even cross someday…I have three small children at home, so we probably already cover many of the same tracks…but in the meantime, meeting you through your words has been a pleasure and a privilege. Thank you!

  9. This is lovely and also kind of strange as it was only 6 days ago that I was in a Butterfly House with Jack, I posted photos on my blog. I paid the price for walking round the zoo that day but it too was worth it. Love and healing to you, Jen B.xxx

    RIP Deidre D.

  10. Susan says:

    Worth it indeed! Thank you for sharing that – Happy Mother’s Day.

  11. Kat says:

    I know, I know…I’m saying it yet again…I’m playing “catch up” with my blog reading. It happens more often than I ever thought possible. But I’m not complaining though. My life is full and happy, so sometimes I get behind.

    I love to visit you. You have a way with words. You amaze, inspire and teach me. Thank you sweet friend.


  12. Robin says:

    Keep flying like the butterflies. Keep soaring. Your flight is a beautiful one.

  13. amanda says:

    Damn. Damn the rules and damn the losses.
    So glad you enjoyed the butterflies and I will remember Deirdre.

  14. I would have thought that they would want all the kids strapped in strollers to prevent them from EATING the butterflies… or even knocking over old people in their pursuit of lunch… perhaps that is just me.

    Good on you for standing up for yourself babe. Sometimes it takes something like cancer or disability to find your inner ‘no, that is not right and I will stand up for myself’ I know that is a positive I have found in myself.

  15. Kate says:

    You swallowed nothing! You made a clear statement of fact, and made it proudly. You’re an inspiration to many, I can see by your visitors. I’m so glad. Cancer has ripped the heart out of my family. But not the soul. Nor yours.

  16. Damselfly says:

    Good for you! I love butterfly gardens too.

    Every time you post about another person who has passed away from cancer, it makes me cry.

  17. clifford says:

    Don’t worry about the sleeve thingie, S. Just tell ’em that Allen Iverson is your fashion inspiration and you’ll get all kinds of street cred.

  18. Ally says:

    Oh, there are so many restrictions and prohibitions, aren’t there? I’m sorry that this was such a hastle, but so glad that you persevered and got to enjoy the butterflies with your lovelies.

  19. JessicaAPISS says:

    My family and I went to the butterfly garden today. I thought of you. I thought of you and your kids enjoying the peaceful flying and how next year a bunch of prickly volunteers won’t infringe on your enjoyment and Little Bear’s enjoyment.

    Happy, happy Mother’s Day babe. You are strong, healthy, awesome, RUNNING!

  20. […] week I screwed up my courage to ask for accomodation at the Butterfly Exhibit.  This week, I’m asking the aquarium, where we’re members, if […]

%d bloggers like this: