Last week, I was in valentine preparation mode. Because I am not running for mother-of-the-year, I had my daughters pick up their favorite cards from the nearest store. For Eddie, I went to my easiest braille option, the National Braille Press. They make the best braille valentines, ready to go, with decoding information on the back for his sighted peers.
I was proud of myself for ordering them in plenty of time, getting the names brailled on last weekend, and sending them off in his backpack straight to his classroom aide days before they were due. I was on top of things…or so I thought. Two days after I sent those valentines to school…TWO DAYS…I thought, “Oops!”
What part did Eddie have in that process? Absolutely none. He didn’t even put them in his backpack to take to school. He didn’t even help me write their names. Honestly, he didn’t even get to check them out before they were packaged up and shipped out. Not only is this negligent on my part as a parent…but as a teacher, I was sort of ashamed.
Why didn’t I include Eddie? Why didn’t I even THINK to include Eddie? That answer is easy…I have almost no patience and even less time. I have to purposefully make time…and make myself be patient. It doesn’t come naturally, and it is simply a necessity when raising a child who is blind.
Eddie even got this adorable valentine from a peer (see inserted picture of him holding it), and it has braille made accurately with puff paints. He also got another valentine with accurate braille. Those parents even made time for braille…with their sighted children. Realizing that I’m not always as patient as I should be, I’m trying harder, and I quickly got a chance to practice.
On Friday, Eddie had a doctor appointment, and we left right at the end of the day. We rushed through traffic, into the parking garage, and on an elevator up to his floor. When we stepped off the elevator, Eddie decided today (of all days) he was going to be SUPER curious.
He stopped at every window blind, doorway, signage, fake plant, and flooring change. He used his hand, his cane, he face, and his little bit of vision to examine it all in great detail; shown in this picture of him in the hallway. He moved at a pace that would make a sloth proud, and I stood there…patiently…trying not to drag him by his cane down the hall.
We were late, of course, but the world didn’t end. He continued his peeked curiosity in the exam, where he felt the doctor’s stethoscope all the way up to one ear, back to the bottom, and right back up to the other ear. He let her listen to his chest, and when he would usually say a quick “Goodbye,” he instead said, “More, please.”
Letting him take his time, with me practicing patience, was so worth it. He hates going to the doctor, but today, with adequate time allowed, he not only enjoyed it, but he was LEARNING. So, even if I don’t come to patience naturally, I will by necessity…for him. Whether it’s school projects, or impromptu orientation & mobility lessons, he deserves my patience. In every way, he has earned it.