In August, I started to get word that the circus was coming to town. All of the teachers of the visually impaired in the area (including me) were asked if we had any students interested in getting a “touch tour” of the circus. I immediately thought it was a great idea, but wondered what exactly would be involved.
Regardless, I was able to take two of my students even though space was limited. All the kids were able to feel and try-on costumes, sit in a ring suspended from the ceiling, pet the miniature horses, sit on a motorcycle, and the best part…pet an elephant. As fun was had by all, I started to feel guilty that my own son who was blind did not attend.
Professionally, I couldn’t coordinate transporting my students along with Eddie. Personally, his Dad had other obligations that day and couldn’t bring him either. Honestly, I was mostly afraid he’d get upset, or not enjoy the tour. Luckily, the circus generously was passing out free tickets to a weekend show, and I snagged five for our entire family.
We had never taken Eddie to anything quite like this. We knew it would be loud, in a giant venue, and with lots of people. Those are all things that can make my son very uncomfortable and unhappy. We had to prepare him by talking a lot about where we were going and also what it might be like. We had to prepare ourselves by packing lots of snacks and the most important thing…his noise-cancelling headphones.
We arrived an hour before the show and found our seats. My daughters found their way to the center ring where the circus performers were entertaining all the kids before the show. Eddie sat with me…and started giggling hysterically.
What we found is that the circus isn’t only in the eyes of the beholder…it’s also in the ears, nose, mouth, and hands. Eddie found the music fantastic, and the suspense of perfectly planned notes delighted him beyond belief. He cheered with the audience, snacked with his sisters, and became just another kid in the crowd.
In this family photo, he was trying to escape because he wasn’t sure what he had just walked into. However, he also had a delighted grin on his face that remained all evening. We had another successful Coleman outing, that I was afraid to try. Luckily, with some free seats, and a bit of courage…we made it to the circus.
I’m trying to get fear out of my life in regards to Eddie. I’m asking myself, and encouraging you to ask, “Where would I take my child who is blind if I wasn’t afraid?” When I have that answer…that’s exactly where I’m going to take him next. And then I’m going to ask it again…