I’m not sure I’ve ever publicly given thanks to the many people in our lives that have been there for Eddie…and for us. I’m not very good at voicing my appreciation as often as I should, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I think I’ll speak up today in honor of Eddie’s staunch supporters.
To our family: thank you for simply being there for us in whatever capacity is necessary. This has meant childcare for a weekend away, childcare for siblings while Eddie travels to doctors, a needed hug during a rough patch, slipping us some cash when life’s expenses were excessive, or a pat on the back when all is well. We have taken many risks knowing that we had you as our safety net, which has allowed us to say “yes” to any opportunity for Eddie. Even though it’s important to know we can count on you, it’s even more important that Eddie knows he can count on you. You have earned his love and trust, without even trying.
To our friends: thank you for making us laugh, and for loving our family. You accept Eddie’s special needs, even when you suffer his wrath when he can’t help himself. Pinch after pinch, you still risk it for a nice big Eddie hug. You’ve never thrown us a pity party, or allowed us to tread down that dangerous path. You’ve watched me submit to unattractive sobbing, and helped me “get it together” when I was done. You’ve asked countless questions about Eddie’s doctor visits, cane usage, and learning braille. You’ve forgiven me when I can’t manage to remember to ask you about your own children, due to the life that sometimes consumes me.
To his teachers and therapists: thank you for being willing to try new roads, and for acknowledging that we’re an important part of Eddie’s school “team”. You push for independence, when it certainly isn’t the easiest route. You expect more of Eddie every day, without us having to remind you that he is capable. You just know that he is, and that he can. Even though some of you have never worked with a child who is blind, you act like you always have.
To his doctors: thank you for always speaking to us like equals. You don’t treat us like we wouldn’t understand, and the extra time you’ve given in explanations has been a blessing. You’ve answered a hundred questions, and returned every call regardless of its rating on a severity scale. You’ve enforced our decision to not just accept any doctor, but to seek out the best.
To fellow “special need” families: thank you for reading this blog, and for sharing when your life parallels ours. Some of you have broken ground that has allowed the rest of us to face greater challenges with our children. Thank you for living your lives out among the general public, so they can see that our children exist, too. You teach lessons every day that can only be taught by example. Knowing that there are thousands of families like ours, is a comfort. You can understand, and relate to us in a way nobody else could.
Lumping everyone into a category seems unfair, but I could write a book about what is done for us by each individual. This Thanksgiving, I recognize that we are surrounded by people that have never seen us as outcasts, and embrace the differences in our family. There are always some that don’t appreciate Eddie, and are uncomfortable around us, and I understand that. I’m just grateful for everyone that is not.
From Eddie’s family to yours…Happy Thanksgiving! Let’s all remember what we have to be thankful for each day, and count the many blessings in our lives. Most importantly, let’s remember to be thankful for our children who are blind. They have the most unique, and lovely, gifts to share.