When I was younger, before children, I was terrified of little kids and especially of babies. As a teenager, I rarely babysat anyone. I chose to work as a restaurant hostess, and a hotel maid, instead of changing diapers and putting children to bed.
When I went to college, I chose a degree in teaching, but stuck with secondary education. I student taught eleventh grade history, staying as far away from elementary school as possible. I just didn’t know how to interact with kids, but after I had my own, that changed.
Many of us know how fantastic it is to hold a newborn baby. Once we’ve been through it on our own, we know that they simply want affection. If you can offer that to them, they will snuggle right in, and sleep easily in your arms. Like many moms, I often will offer to hold a baby whenever possible, simply because babies are fantastic.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet many families that have very young children with visual impairments. They were in a central location, learning about their child’s unique needs, and simply getting to know each other. Because my son is older, I was mostly there in my “teaching” capacity, but I also enjoyed socializing with these families…families like mine.
As I recently blogged about, I find validation when I’m with families that have visually impaired children. My parenting is validated…my frustrations are validated…and even my joys are validated. This time, something else was validated, too. My connection with babies like Eddie still stands.
Babies like Eddie (as a baby) are very rare. You cannot find them in your local grocery store, and often will have few opportunities to meet them, let alone hold them. But as us parents of visually impaired children know, babies like ours are just as phenomenal, and we feel connected to them.
I was lucky enough to interact with a couple kiddos at this family event. I found myself playing the same games with them that Eddie enjoyed when I could still hold him in my arms. I found simple joy in remembering Eddie as a baby, and felt myself tearing up and missing that tiny infant…who happened to be blind.
I remembered back to that first teacher of the visually impaired that came into my home. She provided me with an education about blindness…but she also provided me with hope. I find myself still searching for hope sometimes, but I also know that everything will be OK.
These families I met are still looking for answers…and probably searching for hope as well. I’m sure they found some of that last weekend. If nothing else, I’m sure they realize they are not alone, and there are answers, and educators out there for them. Personally, I hope to see them at future family events, even if it is only selfishly, so I can hold their babies like Eddie.