Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Life with Cerebral Palsy" with Stephanie Cox: Halloween

In 2014, author Stephanie G Cox published her first book, “Gentle Firmness,” highlighting how Christian parenting sets firm boundaries and gently helps children learn to cooperate. She typed the 500 page book...with her nose. This is interview #3 of 12 to share with all of you Steph's story about, "Life with Cerebral Palsy."

(click here to read the introductory post)

1. Did your family participate in Trick-or-Treating when you were a child?
Oh yes, we did!

2. At what age did you first dress up and go and how did you get from door-to-door? Did having Cerebral Palsy in any way prevent you from being able to participate?
My parents dressed me up from the time I was a baby. My older siblings were of trick-or-treating age, so I was one or two years old when I first went out trick-or-treating. I was always included in everything and had fun.

My first Halloween. 1981.

My second Halloween. 1982. 

3. Did having CP interfere with your enjoyment in Halloween festivities as a child?
No. Cerebral Palsy never entered into it. It was, and still is, the LAST thing on my mind during holidays. I had/have a blast!

4. Tori (6) asks: "How did you hold your candy bag?"
We put my candy bag on my tray or hung it off the back of my wheelchair. My siblings, friends, or parents held it out for me. 

5. Elisa (9) asks: "How did you pick out your costume?"
The same way everybody does. I told my parents what I wanted to be and we went out and got my costume. Or I picked it out at the store.

Ready for my big brother (next to me) to take me trick-or-treating. Late 1980s.

6. Evelyn (11) asks: "How did you go door-to-door if there were steps?"
When I was little my older brother lugged me up the steps in my stroller to people's doors. Later, my brother or my dad would lug my wheelchair up steps. When I got too big to be lugged up steps in my wheelchair, my friends or parents would ring the doorbell for me and I'd yell, "trick-or-treat," and the person would put candy in the bag or bucket that my friend or parent held out for me.

7. Josh (13) asks: "How do you give candy to kids when they come to the door if you can't use your hands?"
My parents gave out candy. When my husband and I lived in Northern Illinois, we had trick-or-treaters come and he'd give out candy while I watched and smiled at the children. Now we live in the country in Southern Illinois and never get trick-or-treaters. I wish we would. I love seeing all the children dressed up!

8. Did you go to Halloween parties, bob for apples, go for hay rides, and other traditional Halloween things? What was your favorite?
I went to a sock hop. And during grade school, we had Halloween parties. I did go on hay rides. But trick-or-treating was the main event for us as children. I loved it!

9. Do you have any particular memories of Halloween you'd like to share?
So, in 8th grade my best friend slept over. We were too old for trick-or-treating but I think we went anyway. When we got home, we watched "Halloween." I am a big chicken so I kept looking away and screaming when Michael Meyers kept jumping out. Then I didn't sleep that night. I was so freaked out. LOL!

In a Halloween shirt. 2013

10. Do you currently participate in Halloween in any way and how do you feel having Cerebral Palsy effects that?
We always put up decorations. Sometimes I dress up. We watch movies. As I previously said, I wish we'd get more trick-or-treaters here. I guess we're too far out in the country for them. I do wish Chittyville Haunted School was wheelchair accessible. It has the best radio commercials and is a really cool haunted house from what I hear.

If you think about it, I am able to enjoy traditional things like haunted houses just as much as anyone else with or without cerebral palsy. In some cases, it is people in charge of staging events that ends up preventing me from being able to enjoy something with everyone else and not my disability.

I want to say that I understand and respect Christians who don't celebrate Halloween. I am fully aware of it's evil roots. But, I think we can enjoy the innocent parts of it like dressing up and eating candy. It only becomes evil if WE allow it to do so.

Halloween decorations. 2013

11. Dara (39 +a few) asks a very important question: how did you gorge yourself with all your Trick-or-Treating loot without being able to use your hands or hide in a corner behind a chair where your parents couldn't see you? Did you actually have to eat it at a sane speed because a responsible person had to feed it to you! Oh, the inhumanity!!! :)
That was actually never a problem as I didn't want to gorge myself. I knew my limit as once my grandparents let me eat half a jar of rhubarb. Later that night, I found out what happened when one gorges oneself. LOL! So, I'd eat a few pieces on Halloween night then after lunch and supper. My family wasn't strict on treats. So, it was never a fight or anything.

Me dressed as Strawberry Shortcake in 2010.

Me dressed as Raggedy Ann in 2008.

12. Halloween is a holiday focused on death and scary things. What are you most afraid of?
I'm afraid of a lot of things. Some are irrational due to my anxiety. But, my two major fears are failing in life and of losing the people I love. I've lost many people throughout my life either because they've died or because they don't approve of me and my passion for children.

That's where Jesus comes in because He is my Rock. Without Him, I wouldn't even be here.

* How long did it take you to answer these...in toto? :)
Roughly 2.5 hours.

Note to readers:
Please! If you have any questions, no matter how "stupid" you think they might be, post them in the comments section or email them to whyIstoppedspanking@gmail.com. The final post (next summer) will feature readers' questions! Thanks!

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