I had been told about the breakfast buffet in paradise. There would be a restaurant inside the resort and breakfast would be awesome. A buffet of any kind has always been a troublesome proposition. With cerebral palsy having its affect on my wrists, it’s impossible for me to hold a plate in one hand and dish up food with the other. I will always need help from someone when in a buffet line and the frustration of my inability brings about feelings of isolation. The idea of a buffet always brings a feeling of dread, as I often seem to be the only adult asking someone to dish up my plate. The responsibility seems to fall into my brother’s lap. I wish he didn’t have to deal with it, but I also experience a sense of relief when he is there to help.
He grabs a plate and I tail him through the line. He asks what I would like, lifting each heated container to see what’s inside. The food smells really good as I give a simple yes or no to the different choices. If something looks good he begins filling my plate requesting my signal when it looks like enough. On the second or third day going through the line he’ll grab an extra slice or two of bacon for my plate. We get into a pattern as the days go by and the feeling of awkwardness subsides from my emotions.
It seems like a simple solution to a simple problem, to accept help while going through a buffet. Cerebral palsy limits my ability to do certain things and it’s a blessing to have a brother willing to jump up and help. As we go through the line, I can’t help but feel embarrassed. It’s difficult to come to peace with the fact I can’t go through the buffet line alone. I’m a grown man who has to rely on my brother to get my food on occasions like this. It’s a lonely feeling to stand there requesting food be placed on my plate instead of having the ability to do it on my own. I’m not holding the plate, my brother is, so I’m doing nothing but requesting the foods I would like. I dream of the independence moving through the buffet on my own would provide.
In the week of going through the breakfast buffet I didn’t see anyone else needing the help I did. We are surrounded by some of the most successful people in the world. They have worked hard to earn a vacation like we are on. I don’t look like them; cerebral palsy makes me different. My disability can leave me feeling like a burden to my family. My brother has such a good heart. I’m thankful for his loving and helpful nature. He never causes me to feel like a burden. That has always been my personal struggle.
We arrived home safely from our vacation in paradise. Upon reflection on the uneasy feelings I went through during breakfast, I’m grateful for the experience. Much of my life is about making small adjustments to help me function independently, but going on vacation reminds me not every situation can be modified. There will be times a helpful person is required to make things easier and having the humility to accept the help only makes experiences like this easier and more enjoyable.