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Monday, December 24, 2012


“When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.”
Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

Seth and I decided to go to the Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation open house.  I was nervous about taking Oli out anywhere besides the doctor.  I didn’t want people staring at her or asking me questions about her eyes.  I didn’t want to have to start explaining my baby to people.  She was only a week old.

 We had to make the trip though.  We didn’t have any other place to go.  I needed to talk to another parent about what it was like to raise a blind child.

 The open house was in Las Vegas.  I tried to prepare myself on the hour long drive there.  I didn’t want a lot of people looking at her or touching her.  She was so small and I felt that fierce need to protect her like I had my son.  I brought my baby sling to put her in.

  I brought it because I knew that it was the best way to hide her from the world.

 If I could only hide her for a little while longer… maybe eventually I would be ready for the world to meet her.  Right now, I just wanted to get in, ask my questions, learn the secrete language or hand shake or whatever it was that I needed to learn in order to live this life and function normally.

 I really thought that these people would give me the magical keys to my new life.  I thought they would open the door for me.  After all I was now part of their club.  I had a child that was blind.  I thought they would just sit me down and explain it all.

It didn’t happen that way.

 They were very nice.  They told me their son was 3 and had bilateral microphthalmia.  I remember that I really wanted to meet him.  I wanted to be able to picture what Oli would be like in 3 years.  I wanted to see what his eyes looked like.  I thought that because Oli had the same condition as him they would be very similar.  I thought all kids with the same diagnosis were similar.  Obviously there was so much that I didn’t know.  I was disappointed when they told me that their son wasn’t there.

 The mother of the little boy approached me.

 How are you doing?

 I’m fine.  Thank you.

 Can I see her?

 Oh my God. The moment of truth.  Someone wanted to look at her.  At least this was someone who was familiar with her condition.  I felt a tiny bit more secure as I pulled the fabric back from her face.  She peaked inside the sling.

 She’s beautiful. Congratulations.


 I don’t think anyone had said those words since we found out about her eyes. 

As tears welled up in my eyes the next words out of my mouth were spoken with complete honesty and appreciation for that one word. Congratulations.

Thank you.

Thank you for reminding me that she was a baby.  She was my baby despite her disabilities.  I should be proud of her and people should not be afraid to congratulate me.

That word was spoken by a woman who, through her own experience, knew exactly what I needed to hear.  She could sense that I was frightened about what people would say.  Frightened by the way people might look at her. 

She knew what I needed and that is exactly what she gave me at the moment when I needed it most.



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