A Different Perspective #1

"A Different Perspective" will feature posts from those who are close to me. I thought this would be a great way to let you guys 'meet' people in my life and get a glimpse of the people who make me who I am today!
This post is from one of my close friends from high school. T is not only my personal ride to everywhere around town but one of the most dependable and charismatic people I have ever met. I'm lucky to count her as among my closest partners in crime! 

The first time I saw sandy was when she shyly rolled into our chorus classroom.  Our boisterous teacher told the entire class before she got there about the wheelchair and a couple other things we could expect about Sandy. I thought it strange at the time that she would "warn" us.  Maybe she said it so we wouldn't stare or make comments.  I suppose you really can't trust a bunch of 14 year olds to always make the best decisions. Sandy was a soprano, and sat right by me.  Of course, I'd never seen someone like her before and I was curious, but tried not to stare.  I remember introducing myself and saying she was welcome to come have lunch with me and my friends.  I remember thinking she seemed really shy, but extremely self assured. Plus, she had a really sweet wheelchair.
As the weeks went on, Sandy and I developed a friendship.  I remember asking what she thought about our chorus teacher introducing her to the class like that and I think that she was embarrassed. She just wanted to fit in and felt that there was too much information given to a bunch of strangers about her.  I think that getting to know Sandy means you get to know about the problems she faces.  Yes, anyone can go online and look up her condition and realize that bumping your backpack into her arm could break it, or that she probably won't grow past 3 feet tall, but being friends with Sandy has been a wonderful experience. High School certainly would not have been the same without her.

Being friends with Sandy definitely had its perks.  We got to ride in the private bus to school events and I got to control the joystick (sometimes "recklessly") and drive her wheelchair down the hallways. Her snazzy wheelchair was also a great spot to hang my dangerously heavy backpack and I got to hang out in the nurses office with her instead of going to class. Once I got my license, Sandy and I would go on adventures around town.  My car (which I recently sold - sad-face), was nice and low to the ground and Sandy had no trouble getting in and out of it from her wheelchair.  I finally got the hang of folding it up and putting it in my trunk.  Seat-belt buckled. Seat cushion removed. Fold Inward.  Angle directly into trunk.  It was a process, but each time was worth it. I remember one time, while driving around, Sandy asked where we were, and I thought to myself, 'clearly we're driving through the center of town', but then I realized that Sandy couldn't see out of the window! It was an odd realization that all she could see was the trees and sky above us. 

As graduation from high school approached, I was proud to know that I would be walking with Sandy during the graduation ceremony.  This also meant that all our friends got to sit in the front row (pretty awesome!). I was also glad that Sandy would be attending college across a river and a couple miles away from me.  As we started the journey of post High School life, it was empowering to see her face the challenges of college and living on her own for the first time. 
Each winter, our group of friends from HS would host a holiday party, and we would always figure out a way to get Sandy inside and around the house, through the rooms and (most importantly) to the food.  We have celebrated the holidays with her for the last 10 years and have even made it through a couple blizzards. One particularly memorable moment occurred during a huge snowstorm in which we had to get Sandy home in my little car without snow tires.  It was very slow going, but eventually we got to her house, which of course was on a hill and couldn't get into her driveway because of all the snow.  So we had to extract the wheelchair and carry her into the house.  Of course we were laughing the entire time at how silly it was that we were so determined to have a party that we put ourselves through treacherous conditions to make it happen and have everyone there.

The old HS gang at our annual holiday party
Overall, I must say that Sandy is one of the kindest, bravest, most caring, funny, clever and intelligent people I know and I am glad to have been so close with her for so many years.  Even now, 2 years out of college and several states in between us, I can say that if Sandy and I were to hang out tomorrow, it would be as though we had just left off the day before. 

These posts are submitted to Sandy but none of the content is changed by the blogger.  

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