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Parent Profile: Lisa Bendall

ParentsCanada wanted a peek inside the life of Toronto author and freelance journalist Lisa Bendall is a mom of Emily, 9, and wife of Ian Parker. Ian, who is quadriplegic, also works full-time. Emily is enrolled in piano and swimming lessons and sings with the Toronto Children’s Chorus. Lisa, who does all the cooking, gardening, laundry, lawn mowing, snow shovelling, housepainting, admits there is much left undone in her house.

Was your husband quadriplegic before you met?
My husband, Ian Parker, sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident many years before I knew him. When we met he was already quadriplegic and quite used to it, familiar with his own needs and confident. Having said that, my husband, like anyone else who is progressing through life, is dealing with increased chronic health problems that weren’t there when we first met. So some new issues do crop up as time goes by and we have to adjust our lifestyles and routines accordingly.

What is your favourite half hour of the day?
Dinnertime – all three of us are together and no one’s rushing. We enjoy each other’s company and pretty much have the same warped sense of humour, so there are often a lot of laughs around the table. But, also, I crave those rare moments when no one needs me.

How did you imagine your life when you were a child?
I was convinced I’d be fabulously wealthy. Where did I go wrong there?

What do you believe was your biggest parenting mistake?
Losing it. It certainly doesn’t happen often, but when it does I always regret it.

What one thing do you want to accomplish from your ‘bucket list’?
Two things. I want to see so much more of the world and I do still want to publish that bestselling novel.

What’s the biggest misconception about having a disabled spouse?
I think a lot of people assume that I’m some sort of saint. Sure, , I do many more physical tasks than most wives do, and sometimes I bitch about it. But Ian is an incredible partner in every way that matters, and he gives so much to me, too. He has every single quality I wanted in a husband, including intelligence, confidence, humour, compassion, sensitivity. I wholly enjoy his company. He’s interesting and supportive and he can also make me laugh my guts out. Trust me, I’m not the nurse type. I don’t make a habit of collecting needy people. I wouldn’t be with someone if he weren’t good for me.

Do you feel you’ve lost anything by being a parent?
Yes, sleep!!! But aside from that, the answer is definitely no. Parenting is like travel. It expands you.

Wave your magic wand, what tool would help parents the most?
I wish parents had one extra hour in the day with no commitments or chores or work, so they could have the freedom to just be with their kids. PC

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