I am beyond grateful that my parents and school staff made the decision on my behalf, to start learning braille when I was in first grade. At this time, I could read print and hated having to learn it, but looking back, I am very thankful that this decision was made for me.
I use braille on a daily basis whether it is to label a medicine and instructions, make a grocery list, label folders, write myself reminders or notes, and most of all, read to my little boy.
We have quite the collection of books, both braille with print books, and regular print books. At night, before bed, we always read in Noah’s room. Daddy and I pick two or three smaller books and take turns reading to Noah.
Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch and Noah grabbed a book and came over to me, wanting me to pick him up and read it with him. The book that he had picked was not a braille book. I’m not going to lie, this literally broke my heart. Every other parent can sit there with their little one and read whatever comes their way, but I had no clue what was on those pages.
Instead of letting this get me down, I pointed to the pages and asked Noah to tell me what he saw. Of course, he had no idea how to tell me, but maybe he was using his imagination and enjoying looking at the different colors or objects on the pages.
At such a young age of 13 months, he truly does understand somewhat that Mommy is a little different. He might not know exactly what is different quite yet, but he is so smart. Sometimes he puts toys or books in my hand or touches me with them. This is probably because I don’t react if he is holding it up in front of me. He will hold food up to Daddy or Grandma to share during meal time, but does not do this to me. I think he is slowly figuring out that Mommy is a tad different. I always think of that Sesame Street episode where they sing, “one of these shapes is not like the others.”
I want Noah to have as normal of an upbringing as possible. I think that having a sighted parent and a blind parent might give him a different prospective on life and hopefully allow him the opportunity to appreciate things a bit different than having two sighted parents. I never want to rely on Noah to tell me colors, read me instructions on a box of cake mix, or help me find a missing sock, but those might be things that come naturally to him.
I hope he grows up to be the kid in class that invites a quiet kid over to play or includes everyone, no matter what they look like or what their abilities are. I hope he sees “different” as fun and interesting instead of strange or weird.
I pray that he sees Mommy as a fighter who takes on challenges and not as someone who lets their blindness get them down. I wish for him to be a healthy mix of Mommy and Daddy. Of course Mommy’s brains and looks, but Daddy’s too I guess, ha-ha.
At the end of the day, everyone has challenges, everyone copes with their challenges differently, and I’m not going to let the fact that I cannot read a print book get me down. I am going to embrace my differences, maximize on things that I am a rock star at, and ask for help if there’s just something I need some assistance with.
Again, there are things I can do that my husband might not be able to. These include, reading a braille book in the dark, changing a diaper without having to disturb our son in the middle of the night by turning on a light, and knowing if he has gotten into something that he shouldn’t be in, with my supersonic hearing.
Wow, that was quite a bit of rambling. Bottom line, don’t sweat the things that are out of your control, and maximize on those things that you do have control over.