‘Tis the season for holiday gift lists.

For about eight years after my injury in 1985, I was bothered by annual variations of “gift ideas for wheelchair users,” and I couldn’t figure out why. I’d learned to live and thrive as an adventurous T10 para, and would have been thrilled with a gift of, say, a new race chair. Heck, I would have been thrilled with a pair of wheelchair racing gloves. So why the resistance to lists?PileOfPresents200_245

Finally, I decided to solve my befuddlement. This meant visiting the dark corner of my mind where the remains of my “life turned upside down” — that sense of loss and confusion over my injury — were kept under lock and key.

I realized that bits and pieces of the locked-away feelings had escaped and crossed synapses with my “little kid” understanding of a “gift.” When I was young, I would ask for gifts that were related to my latest interest or passion — first drumming, then oceanography, then skiing. I certainly never had a passion to be a wheelchair user. … Aha! So that was what was creatin