I stand at a busy street corner waiting for the light to change. My three-year-old daughter holds my hand tightly, shifting from one foot to the other impatiently. In this brief suspended interlude between red and green, the thought flashes through my mind again as it has countless times before: how lucky my husband and I are to be blessed with such a child. We never tire of hearing friends and strangers alike comment on her beauty, her precociousness, her intelligence. She loves to watch Barney, has an obsession for anything chocolate, and just recently stopped using diapers. She knows her colors and most of her letters, but is still a bit sketchy on her address.
I am brought out of my reverie by a loud voice. “Honey, you tell your mommy when the light turns green.” I bite back a sharp retort as I wait for the surge of perpendicular traffic. I want to say, “Mind your own business. I want to say, “I have been safely crossing streets for over thirty years.” I want to say, “This child is three. How can you possibly think her capable of making this decision?” But the light changes, we cross the street, and continue with our day, preferring not to fight this particular battle.
I am a wife. I am a college graduate. I am a mom, and I happen to be blind. I have happily taken on with my husband the sacred responsibility and inestimable privilege of raising a child. It is my job to love, to teach, to support, to challenge, to safeguard, and to provide structure and guidance for my child. It is her job to learn, to test, to grow, all in preparation for the time when she will forge her own path in life. Her job is not to be my care-giver, my guardian, or my parent. Of course, she will have chores and responsibilities as a member of our family, but the purpose of these will be to instill in her the knowledge that a family works together for the common good.
My little girl loves to drag her dolls by their feet across the living-room floor. If she had a motto, it would be, “Why walk when you can skip or run?” This is as it should be. I want her to have her childhood, with all the wonder and freedom youth entails. As she matures, I hope to teach her by example how to be creative, how to overcome obstacles, and how to have compassion for people who are ignored or underestimated.
This is the potential gift of my blindness that I never anticipated. If I could gain my sight, would I? Yes, without a doubt. I would love to see the faces of my family and friends, gaze at a sunset, count the stars. But until that unlikely event happens, my life is full to bursting. To even consider asking for more is ludicrous because I truly have it all: awesome responsibility, love, laughter, life. This I believe.
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