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.
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.