Step Away from the Chair and Be Seen

At age twenty-one I walked into the dining room, locked eyes with a tall, rangy, blue-eyed outdoorsman and fell head over heels in love. At age twenty-three, we got married, and I expected to live happily ever after.

Reality smacked me with a vengeance when our first child was still-born, our second child developed a life-threatening condition that required numerous surgeries, and our youngest child was born with cerebral palsy.

I took care of my family. Loved my husband and children and dealt with so many physical, mental, energy-draining health issues that I lost track of time, lost track of goals and lost sight of me.

One afternoon during a women’s group, the leader handed out sheets of paper and asked us to write down ten things we wanted in our lives. The only stipulation was it had to be personal. We couldn’t add husband, children or job to the equation.

Looking at that little scrap of blank paper, I realized a big chunk of ‘me’ was sleeping. I’d become a wife and mother and forgotten how to be ‘me’.

How many adults get so caught up in work, family, home, and marriage they forget their innermost dreams? How many of us manage to wake up? I’m always surprised when I ask people what they want out of life and they look at me with a blank stare.

Dreams can give direction and best of all, they’re free.  But all the dreams in the world can’t help you if you don’t wake up and remember how to live.

I have special needs in my life. I have chosen to be a full-time caregiver, and I’m happy with that decision, but it means I have to make choices. And I have to find balance. Most of all I can’t fall back into dreaming.

It would be easy to say what I want for me doesn’t matter. That it’s enough to take care of my family and my home and my child. Shouldn’t that satisfy me? But it doesn’t. Those are things that are extensions of others. They aren’t the things that define me, as an individual.

I’ve pushed a wheelchair for over thirty years. On the rare occasions when I step out from behind the chair, and go somewhere without my son, it’s not uncommon for people not to recognize me. They don’t really see me. Somehow, over the years I became known as Mrs. Hank or Josh’s mother.

That needs to change. I’ve rediscovered what I want, and I’ve decided to stop dreaming. Dreaming won’t get me where I want to be.

I finally know where I’m going and, in a very small way, how to get there. My path is laid out. Dreams have given me direction, but I’m awake now and focused. I have my eyes on a goal.

I’m stepping away from the wheelchair, not far because my wants and needs must always balance the needs and wants of the people I’m responsible for, but I’m ready to stop being a faceless extension of somebody else.

My name is C. L. Roth. I’ve wakened from my dream and stepped out from behind the wheelchair and am learning how to be ‘me’.








About C. L. Roth

C. L. Roth was born and raised in Kansas. She has a deep love for the prairie state, the Flint Hills in particular. She is married, has two sons, four grandchildren, is an artist, writer and full-time caregiver. Life experience has taught her that normal doesn't exist, it's the journey that matters, and the best way to succeed is simply: Never Give Up.
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21 Responses to Step Away from the Chair and Be Seen

  1. Ginger says:

    I love it Carol. Wish you the best on your new site.

  2. Byl says:

    I’ve looked in several times, just to raise the count and make you smile. I love you sis.

  3. This is beautiful. And so true. I remember when I was in high school, my long-term dreams always involved people I’d never met: husband and kids. I’ve realized most of those dreams and now I’m trying to find other ways to fulfil myself. Just for me.

    I love that I can define myself by my connections to other people: wife, mother, daughter, Latter-day Saint/Mormon, sister, even dog-owner. But I’m more than that. If I were the only person left on Earth, what would I be?

    And I think that’s what we’re both searching for.

    • C. L. Roth says:

      Emily, You got it. If all the externals were taken away, who and what would you be? It’s nice to have husband and children but first, you have to be a whole person in order to give the best of yourself to others.

  4. Sharon says:

    If my memory serves me right, years ago I wanted to be well thought of and successful. Successful at what I can’t recal. Sometimes I journal and think I really enjoy this. Time has a way of stopping us from keeping going even if we want to. Carol I am so proud of the way you are going about gaining your dreams. Dreams that seem to keep us all going. Keep your brain working I think mine is starting to slow down before I realize what I think is the most important thing I should be doing. I love life, family and friends. I love the fact that we live in the great United States. I love the way we all grew up with respect for each other. I love the way we all look at life. I love the way we all grew up as only children. That is hard to do with a family of eight children. With the love and respect that we have for each other it has been a fun road to follow. Thanks everyone. Congratulations on your webb site Carol and keep it coming. Sharon

    • C. L. Roth says:

      Sharon, our parents gave us the gift of individuality. Somehow, Mom found a way to encourage and develop our own uniqueness. She also gave us the gift of a magical childhood. We were allowed to be children and dream and imagine to our hearts content. We have been so blessed. That’s one reason I wrote Bone Weary. I wanted to share a bit of our family values with everybody. We may see life a little bit differently, we may choose to look at the good in life, but we also have great strength in overcoming hardship. If even one person can gain something from what I write, then I’m content with my path.

  5. Nyla Gibbons says:

    Carol: I am very impressed and happy for you. May all your dreams come true you have sacrificed and earned every one of them !

  6. Marilyn Davis says:

    I finally found my way to your site. So glad you got it up and going. I am so convinced that your writing will be appreciated by other people who gain an incite to just being you. When we have our own family we use a lot of our energy in just making our family the biggest part of our life. Being the oldest in the family, I can see that time just disappears and there comes a time in everyone’s life when we ask the question “What are my accomplishments. Everyone was put on this earth for a different purpose. How have I helped those around me.” For many years this question is not answered. But, time makes things much easier to see. You slowly see the picture of your life and what your abilities are. I know you can write in such a way that will be a blessing for your readers. Keep it up. Get those books out there for all of us to enjoy. You will be surprised later when you see how well you have done. I know how true this is. Finally found out that my goal in life was to make our ancestors come alive. Started out with one. Now I have almost all my lines done. Still a few excaping me. There is a rainbow at the end of the line. Keep going on your colorful path. It is bright and exciting.

    • C. L. Roth says:

      Marilyn, I’m glad you found your way over here. This website is a work in progress. I’ll be steadily adding to it. I’ll keep everybody posted on when the books become available. You are the engine in our family. The one in front. For those following behind, you made our path easier.

  7. Texanne says:

    Carol–go get ’em, girl!

    Josh and Hank will be so glad for you to get out of their shadows–they must feel like jailers sometimes. Now you’ve stood up, so one step, one more step.

    As Holly always says: Onward! :)TX

    • C. L. Roth says:

      Hi, Texanne,
      I’m glad you found your way over here. I’m learning so much right now. It seems like Holly has led us into a whole new ballgame. I’m ready for this and very excited. Just so many new hats to wear, I’m not sure where to start. I keep second guessing myself. But maybe it will turn out to be ‘all roads lead to Rome’ only all roads lead to publication.

  8. C. L. Roth says:

    You’re welcome. Thank you for stopping by.

  9. C. L. Roth says:

    Love the quotes. Thank you.

  10. C. L. Roth says:

    Thank you for taking time to stop by and comment. I appreciate it.

  11. free ipad 2 says:

    I adore your wordpress theme, exactly where do you get a hold of it from?

    • C. L. Roth says:

      I’m not sure what a wordpress theme is. If it’s the layout, it’s provided by wordpress. If it’s the artwork, that’s mine. I created the painting of the horses without the use of a paintbrush. I uploaded the image into the header. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave a comment.

  12. C. L. Roth says:

    Thank you for stopping by and reading.

  13. C. L. Roth says:

    I’m sorry you’re disappointed. Keep checking back. New work goes up on Sundays.

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