I made the front page. The Ontario premier was on the second page.
It’s frustrating that my own local theatre didn’t even respond to interview requests, either because they were busy or avoiding the whole thing, but I don’t intend to let them stay silent on this issue for much longer.
I’m thankful for a few recent opportunities from my irregular appearances on Twitter.
I hesitate to get into these really, yet, and what they actually are or might become, but I am feeling pretty good about it. At least, with this whole recent set of realities about the risks of Facebook, at least Twitter is a totally risk free platform, right?
Yeah, right. Sure. Still, I know the risks and they must be weighed rationally.
I’m thankful for modern medicine here in Canada.
I take all the modern hospital facilities and equipment for granted, as I’ve always had it available to me. Here in a country such as Canada we have so much. In 2018 I have no reason to believe my loved one won’t be safe and taken care of.
I’m thankful for universal healthcare…not free like some people like to say/think it is.
Like the great and powerful gun debate, the one over what universal healthcare system Canada has vs what the US has and how both countries compare to many others, this rages on and on and on.
Nothing’s perfect. Certainly Canada is not. Yet, I am glad I was born here and have no tough insurance choices to make, no mega medical bills or debts hanging over my head and neither do my loved ones.
I’m thankful my brother is doing better, that it wasn’t something more serious.
He had stomach pains, but it wasn’t on the side where his five-year-old transplanted kidney sits. That brought me relief when I heard, even though I wanted someone to find out why he was having pain otherwise.
They thought it was his appendix, but no sign that that is the case. Frustrating, the mystery of the whole thing. For now, he’s doing better, and I hope it will stay that way.
I’m thankful for a gathering of strong voices.
I do worry for all the pressure put on those who are still young, fighting and speaking for safety and an end to gun violence, but they are strong in spite of it all. I hope they can survive it, but I am glad the adults aren’t silencing the younger generation.
I’m thankful for an Easter egg hunt, with the kids, in the yard.
The sun was out, but it was still a bitterly cold wind blowing as they searched. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to bother them much.
I’m thankful for spring.
Even though I don’t agree with most about how horrid winter can be, I do admit when it’s a lovely feeling to sense the start of a new season in the air.
I love the birds and even the rain.
Speaking of Easter and spring…this one plastic egg got discovered by a wild creature, instead of a child; child proof and critter proof too.
I’m thankful for nature. (More to come on that as April draws nearer.)
What animal, would you guess, tried to make its way in for what treats were hiding inside?
On this special Friday the 13th edition of Just Jot It January
we must all pay extra attention, so we don’t end up in the hospital.
Okay, so is this day supposed to be lucky or is it supposed to bring bad luck?
I wrote about triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13 on my blog a few years ago. I am skeptical and sometimes pessimistic in life, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I am superstitious.
I have been in the hospital plenty, but not because of bad luck. It’s all scientific, something that is being railed against a lot lately, but it has saved my life.
I owe science and medicine. I owe my life and my brother’s life to it. I owe the existence of my nephew and “niece” to science.
Hospitals are avoided by most, clearly. I read about how we humans shape our own narratives in life. Mine was shaped by being in hospital more than the seventh grade. I choose to see the good in that, even if I felt lousy at the time. Hospitals are vital and, though sometimes we abuse their availability in North America, when we are in real need I am glad of them and all the stories on the Internet will never ever match up.
This year stands out for me, and it’s still within the first few weeks, because of the significance of a twenty year mark of sorts, one which hospitals played a big part. So, I may not be superstitious, not in the black cat crossing your path way, I do like to recognize times and dates that feel like they should be acknowledged, for both the good and the bad.
This week I was reminded just how much I have to lose. That means I haven’t even come close to having nothing left.
Not everyone can say that. We here in Ontario, Canada, we experienced our own little incident with radicalism recently. He was attending a mosque just down the street from where my brother lives. They tried to help him, but unfortunately he was a very angry and disillusioned young man.
We are not immune here, in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, but that doesn’t suggest we should then turn toward hate all our own.
In a week where privileged young star athletes act poorly in Rio, when another image of war torn Syria features a small child, and where more attention is given to that athlete than to floods and fires and the suffering of children to begin with,
I search out blessings and I remember to look for the bright side of life.
In spite of that, I liked this film. I hope the mother I saw this with enjoyed it as much. Motherhood, toughest job around.
For a small step in the progress of my lessons and for my violin teacher taking the time to record herself playing the two basic songs I am learning technique on.
I thought the other day about how learning the violin, for me, feels meant to be. It feels natural, or oh so close to.
It’s as if I am walking in a forest and I’ve come to a stream just a bit too wide for me to jump across. I can see the opposite side and I just need to find a bridge or even some stones to get me to the opposite bank.
The other side, where violin music comes to me, flows through me, naturally, that’s in view.
For fresh food grown in my back yard.
Of course, without the work of a couple cousins who do this sort of thing for a living, a dedicated ex boyfriend, or the gifted hand of my mother and her knowledge about all things gardening, I wouldn’t have had any of it.
It’s a nice feeling to hold a fresh cucumber in your hands and bite into it, knowing it only came from your own yard. Something rooted in the natural world so close and yet so far from myself. I owe others who care to make nature such a part of things so that I can enjoy it.
For the extra effort some are putting into me and my future.
I often feel like an extra weight or burden for others, including family, friends, and any other relationship. I guess having most kinds of relationships with me can demand certain things of people.
I hope I give back, as much as possible, in my own unique ways. I hope I bring something to each situation as it comes. I pledge to do that once more, for all who took the time out this week to help me not to give up on my future growth and progress.
This is my promise.
That I got to speak with an amazing Canadian travel writer.
For me though, it would likely be more like: dream, breathe, and then go. Take the deep breath and dive in. My dreams are waiting for me, out there somewhere.
We had a brief but helpful phone conversation where we spoke about solo travel as a woman and finding the confidence necessary to become comfortable traveling alone.
Our situations are quite different, but she has experience and knowledge and I was grateful she took a few moments out of her day to return my call and speak to me for a short time.
For another full moon.
I understand the science behind the moon, its phases, and the pull of the tides of our oceans. I think it’s rather magnificent.
I also understand how some feel those forces mess with their mood. I can see that.
For me however, a full moon is my best shot of actually seeing it up in the night sky. When it’s at its brightest and roundest I have a better chance at spotting it and I cherish that opportunity.
But yet, when I can’t find it in all that darkness I still know it’s out there somewhere. That’s my best lesson in faith, whatever your beliefs or religion might be.
For medical and surgical advancement and the ability of doctors to perform gall bladder surgery.
My mother had it done and so did my sister. It causes a lot of women especially a lot of trouble.
Now it is needed again and I am glad those in need this time around can receive the surgery and hopefully recover from here on out. Modern medicine in this part of the world saves lives and halts so much pain and suffering. We are lucky and blessed to have it so readily available to us around here.
That we here in Canada could come together for one night.
I admit that The Tragically Hip aren’t my favourite band. I am, by no means, their biggest fan. Still, it was a strange feeling of oneness last night. The Rio Olympics were preempted and the CBC instead broadcast this final concert by a Canadian iconic musical group and their singer who may not have very long left to live.
What would it be like, what would any of us say or do if we knew we had so little likely time left to live?
link And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.
I was reminded of this, by way of my initial TToT quote from last week.
link It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.
So, yeah Robert Fulghum has all these great quotes, which apply to education and children, youth and imagination, with all the political rhetoric and campaign promises, all the talk of peace vs war and strength vs weakness.
I do get irritated with the mis-information spread, that Canada is the BIG BAD “SOCIALIZED” healthcare, that it’s free. But nothing’s free, right?
So, someone in my family needed it, unexpectedly, at the beginning of the week. I am glad we have access to it here in Canada. When you are dealing with stress and fear and panic, you shouldn’t have to fear a giant bill in the mail on top of the close call of a family member’s health being risked.
It’s not free. It is there when we need it and I am thankful for that.
That my brother had excellent care and that someone found him so soon after he’d had a seizure.
He could have been alone for longer before anyone found him and who knows when he would have received medical attention.
How the brain can bounce back, like nothing happened, though not all residual signs were so soon forgotten.
Of course, those two nights in hospital through off his entire week.
But there he was today, helping or trying to do what he could to help me with yet another computer/technology issue I have.
As the days go on, you start to forget the feelings of terror that we felt when I got the call this past Monday, an immediate flashback feeling of dread, back to seven months ago when he fell and a head injury stopped him and those who love him in our tracks.
That nothing worse was revealed by the tests they did.
CT scan…EEG…MRI…and there is nothing new to see. Any of our worst fears of tumours or the need for brain surgery are put to rest.
So, I use the shake/rattle/roll image to deal with my remaining feelings (close call) and we keep moving forward.
For another lesson full of concepts conveyed and hope for the unblocking of any current roadblocks.
I have my own issues with learning to play the hardest of all musical instruments, the violin, but I am making gradual progress as the months go by.
Somehow, as slow as that progress often feels, my lessons are full of hope that I can, one day, arrive at the breakthrough.
My teacher and I discuss that feeling of being one with the violin. She comments on how it may sound cheesy, but I reassure her that it doesn’t, not at all. Beautiful is more like it to me.
I manage to feel uplifted and I leave my lesson, for yet another week, feeling like I picked the right instrument for me.
For a release date and clues of what’s to come with the new Gilmore Girls.
This one is musical and discusses song writing and lyrics.
For a much more positive week in matters of politics for my neighbours to the south.
I don’t know if I can stand three more whole months of this, but at least this second week of political conventions was more “we” and less “I” and I just wish, now that they have both chosen their nominee, they could get on with the business of voting already.
No heads in the sand of denial about what’s going on in the world, but a little optimism and hope can make all the difference.
For glass ceilings coming one step closer to being shattered even further.
Without getting all political and such, as I try to avoid, but I was glad to hear the sound of breaking glass, when it came to ceilings of gender equality. If something has to break, better that than most other things.
For a ride on the waves with the sun gleaming off the water’s surface.
I had one of those inflatable air mattresses and I found the perfect spot, directly in between two sand bars with crashing waves. In this spot, the water was going up and down, but it was a ride I could lean into and let take me where it might.
The sun was going down, as the best time to go to the lake is after four in the afternoon. Much less risk of getting a sun burn.
Fresh cut French fries and live music. It’s a long weekend here and it was Beach Fest.
BONUS: For balllooons and pufflings.
Who doesn’t love balloons, such as Bill Clinton on stage at the Democratic National Convention? And who doesn’t love puffins, especially little baby puffins?
“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. a
link hashtag happiness
weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.
It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas.
And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.
And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.
~ Robert Fulghum
With all the reality TV run amuck this week, disguised as politics. With an unarmed mental health worker getting shot, right in front of his autistic client. With violence in Munich and Afghanistan and Syria.
I read the above quote and the image of that made me want to spread colour and vibrance and imagination. It made me want to create.
I don’t mean that to come off sounding disrespectful to anyone I know there.
I just do not know how things have arrived at where they are. I can’t do anything about it. I feel like I am taking a front row seat to the spectacle of this election and I am afraid, so I tell myself I am thankful that I have at least some distance.
It’s not all that comforting frankly, but I’m just starting my TToT list. I’ve got nine more to go.
To be a Canadian, living here in Canada.
Honestly, as much as I do love a lot about the US and highly respect many people there, I am thankful to be living in this country.
I say it, I think it, and I feel it in my heart, any way you slice it. Luck of the draw. Again, the comfort is short lived, but it’s something. I don’t know what else to say.
I couldn’t resist the line in the title of this week’s TToT, the one the GOP nominee kept repeating: “Believe Me!” and I don’t. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.
For a Canadian, female writer, whose blog I love to check in on.
“To be responsible is to be forced to confront vulnerability. That is my observation about growing up, generally. The older I get, the more fragile the structures around me seem. The more tenuous. The more invented , in a way. What I mean is that the security of everything I hold precious and dear, even my beliefs, is supported by a certain level of cognitive dissonance, but also by the suspension of disbelief. To dig in, to help build, to get my hands dirty, to make or unmake, is, for me, to witness the complexity and arbitrariness of experience, of life itself, against which there can be no absolute assurances of safety and security.”
Speaking of British comedy…there’s nothing better than Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver being interviewed by Jerry Seinfeld, for his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”.
With Oliver’s signature British humour and Jerry’s own unique brand of comedy, which he’s perfected for these fascinating interviews he conducts, with the sound of a soft trickle of coffee being poured in between clips of their coffee shop chatter and banter.
For the developing of my violin muscle memory and “sul ponticello”..
I’m loving the possibilities and more of the terms I’m learning.
Sul ponticello is a style of playing, where you move the bow up closer to the bridge of the violin. It makes a higher sound with harmonics, or so I’m told and have read.
It’s like what’s often said about writing. It’s important to know the rules so they can be broken properly. I’m getting there.
That I can apply for a passport to see the world.
Who knows what will be going on in the world at any later date.
When I do use my newly acquired passport for the first time, who knows who will be running the country I will be flying over to get to Mexico.
So many people are afraid to travel, to leave the familiar of their everyday surroundings, thanks to perpetrators of violence and intolerance and the spreading of fear. I am lucky I can apply for a little booklet which allows me to explore place away from my immediate home.
Of course, I must pay attention to the very real concerns I face as a visually impaired traveler, while at the same time not allowing so much uncontrollable nonsense stop me, getting in my way. I wish that for all of us.
That I have writing group friends who show their concern.
I wasn’t feeling up to attending my writing group this week, which I hate to have to admit. It has slowly grown to be one of my favourite things.
So, imagine my surprise when I received an email later that night from one of the members, checking up on me, making sure I was okay.
I remember listening to my friend, who was in medical school at the time, telling me a few stories of her classes. It was often more graphic than I was looking to hear, but that’s the reality of medicine, which I have benefited greatly from.
Now, of course, any story of Frankenstein is going to an extreme, but it explores the issues of life and death, challenging mortality.
This film was brilliantly done and the actors played their [parts very convincingly. Also, the descriptive narration I found was some of the best I’ve heard.
For the heartbeat of hope.
It beats in time, with rhythmic steadiness, and I hold onto that. It translates into a very real hope for the future, for so many.
It’s how I am able to go from sadness to euphoria, all in one week.
For beautiful lyrics to explain these times we’re living in.
They say that these are not the best of times, But they’re the only times I’ve ever known, And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own.
Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover’s eyes, And I can only stand apart and sympathize.
For we are always what our situations hand us… It’s either sadness or euphoria. And so we argue and we compromise, and realize that nothing’s ever changed, For all our mutual experience, our seperate conclusions are the same.
Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity, Our reason co-exists with our insanity. And though we choose between reality and madness… It’s either sadness or euphoria.
How thoughtlessly we dissipate our energies. Perhaps we don’t fulfill each other’s fantasies. And so we’ll stand upon the ledges of our lives, With our respective similarities…
The sixth grade gym teacher said: “RUN!” And so his students ran. They ran and ran and ran laps around the school yard, a simple little country school.
The class ran and ran, including one tired classmate, being practically dragged along behind her sighted guide, finally unable to run another lap, not even one more step. She fell to the ground, feeling and smelling the cool tickle and scent of the grass against her cheek, but feeling close to death, hardly caring if she ever got up again.
She was. Close, horrifyingly close, but nobody knew it.
A long, long time ago and very far away, there lived a frightened little girl. She felt like she couldn’t hack it, any of it.
Homework was a nightmare. Math especially filled her with dread at the prospect.
The doctor dismissed her symptoms.
“Her stomach pains are just the start of menstruation,” the GP stated emphatically.
He said it, even as the mother kept bringing her daughter back, time after time. Finally, her shaky hand and general appearance of being unwell would seem to warrant blood tests and a referral. Thank God for that.
Twenty years ago seems so far away to me now. If it had been too far back or longer than long, things wouldn’t have turned out like they did. Medicine has come a long, long way.
Dialysis. Transplantation. Twenty years ago all this was possible. Just twenty years before that and the twenty before that, not so much.
Sometimes it feels like another girl lived all that, another life, and one that wasn’t me. Was I really that frightened little girl?
This week’s triumphant return of mine to Finish the Sentence Friday, brought to you by:
Q: How has medical treatment and technology changed in your lifetime?
A: Blindness is not life threatening. Whether I was born in 2015, 1985, or 1905 – my life would be much different, without a lot of the modern technology I take for granted, but I would have survived.
I have seen an amazing eruption of invention for the technologies I depend on so very much, all within my lifetime of the past thirty-one years.
There is no cure for my sort of blindness. I try to stay away from fad ideas and don’t let myself hope for sight in my lifetime, but then I visit my eye doctor and he assumes I am up on the latest in gene therapies.
I am not.
He said the testing of gene therapy is coming along, which gives me hope for the future.
I didn’t have parents who rushed me all over the world, since discovering my blindness in the eighties, searching for desperate cures. I have lived my life, for the first several years, not really thinking of blindness in any medical terms at all. It was simply a part of me and my brother’s lives, a part of our family’s uniqueness.
I am glad for prednisone. It saved me from going completely blind back in the late nineties, I am sure of it.
In the eighties, technology like what I have now, it was in its infancy. Apple was nowhere near what it is today, for so many visually impaired and blind people everywhere.
The IBM computer we had in our family, in the early nineties, was equipped with the large print I required at that time. My brother could not see even that. His love for technology was, at that time, limited to tape recorders and stereos.
Now he is all about his technology and he has a knack for it. I, on the other hand, struggle with it, but would be nowhere without it.
We did okay, as children, without all the gadgets we now have. We had to lug around a brailler, so heavy it could break a toe or even a foot.
Now, the only thing that could break, if dropped, might be a cell phone.
I suppose there are advancements in research for blindness, but I don’t keep that close of an eye on that, to be honest. The eye, as a whole, has never really interested me. I couldn’t name all its parts, just because I happen to be blind.
I was born in a time before Internet and now I depend on it for so much, it’s scary to me sometimes, to think about ever going back, but I don’t see that being a problem.
What are my odds of seeing a cure for blindness in my lifetime?
It’s not as simple as that. The eye and the brain, although I am no expert, are truly complex systems. There are no simple answers.
I know medicine and technology are closely connected and related. We can’t really have the first without the second, and going forward the two will merge more and more.
As for more seriously life threatening matters, I am lucky there too.
Organ transplant was in its earliest of stages as well, when I was born. I waited until 1996-97 to need dialysis and a kidney transplant. I received both. If I had been needing it, just a few decades earlier, I probably wouldn’t be here now.
That thought first really hit me when we stood in line, for breakfast, at the resort in Florida for Wish Kids. It was our family trip to Disney. I was feeling uncomfortable. I looked all around at the children with deadly cancers and brain tumours. I did not think I should be included there. Then I knew the reality that I was lucky to be there or anywhere at all.
I am haunted by the stories my grandma used to tell me about her baby brother, the great-uncle I never got to meet.
She was twelve when he was born. She was sixteen when he died.
Her and her two older siblings must have loved having a new baby brother, but any joy there would have been did not last long.
I don’t know what the reality was. He was diagnosed with diabetes. I know insulin had been invented years before, but he did not get it.
Was it still so experimental? Was it not widely used? What chance would he have had to live if he had gotten some?
This was a poor, rural farm family. No easy access. His parents didn’t drag him around the world in search of some fad cure. He died at home, surrounded by his loved ones.
My grandma told me about her memories of her little brother, resting out in their front room, on the sofa as he grew sicker and sicker. His small body was building up with toxins. The sugars in his blood were taking their toll.
She’d been dating my grandfather for only a short time when her brother died. She cried on his shoulder, as I am sure the grief must have been terrible.
I don’t know what it must have been like for my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, to lose their baby.
I know what it’s like to feel nauseated and weak. I know how it feels to have horrible abdominal cramps racking you. I believe these symptoms of kidney failure are similar to what it must have been like, what it would be like to die a slow death from diabetes. I sometimes felt that I was doing that. I feel for that little boy, all those years ago, who must have suffered in his last days, on that couch. I can’t even imagine and yet I can, a little too much.
Blindness or no blindness, I wouldn’t have survived if I had been born much earlier than 1984 and I can’t forget that.
Both medicine and technology, whether I like it or not, play an important role in my life and always have.
The medications have improved for transplant. The future for kidney failure, I hope, is looking bright. I would love to get my sight, but I would love even more to never have to go back on dialysis or need another transplant in my life.
At least, this time around, I will have technology to keep me company.
I usually do these things on Mondays, but today is the first day of September and I started
When I returned from Ireland, I saw them ready to start again, from the beginning. Once again came the shots, the cost, and the trips for the In Vitro, with the retrieval and the implantation. They tried again with the love and the hope we all held for them. This time they would be successful. This time they would have the baby they deserved.
This time was different and this time it was going to work. Again she saw her numbers rise with each phone call and it was a positive pregnancy test. Miracles were indeed possible. Again she began to fill with fluid, having to get it drained multiple times. Once more, as she appeared several months pregnant at only one or two, we saw the process begin again, but this time we watched the whole thing progress toward a brand new outcome.
Just prior to this, she’d written a piece about the struggles they’d gone through, for the fertility clinic’s website. I was honoured when she asked me to read it over for her. All who would read it would cry as she described the suffering she’d gone through and what amazing perseverance they had both shown to get through it all. She wanted this as much for her husband, who wanted so much to be a father, as she’d ever wanted it for herself. It was difficult reading about how badly she wanted to give her love a child of his own to love. She spoke about it all with such raw truth and honesty. I knew I would do whatever I could, be there for her, and one day it would pay off.
She showed up at my door, after one of her early appointments at the clinic: nauseous, holding a bowl, and rushing to the toilet. This was a violent reminder that things were on track. I was around and able to sit with her during the days, when others could not. I watched her continue on in this state, for weeks and weeks. This would be the last Christmas she would be without that precious child she longed for. I needed to look after her and that sweet baby so sorely wished and waited for, which now grew inside her. As she suffered with this extreme bout of weakness and nausea, she knew, and we constantly would remind her of the worthwhileness of it all. It’s easy, in a way, to fight through just about anything, when such wonderful things are to come out of it.
As the news of twins was announced and then the news that one alone showed up on the ultrasound, it was devastating, but how could we be sad when there was a baby to look forward to? Yet still the loss of that second baby, a precious human life and sibling, was a loss just the same.
The pregnancy soon resumed an overall normal state. My sister was able to experience everything other mothers-to-be take for granted, even if she’d experienced things a little backwards. Moderate morning sickness for some is a nine month ordeal for others. I learned a lot about pregnancy by observing its affects firsthand through my sister and sister-in-law during that time. My limited experience with these things had come, previously, from television and books, but this was my family and the people I loved. Infertility was such a lesson that I had never known. The loss of miscarriage and negative pregnancy tests was so heartbreaking that I wondered how anybody ever recovered, but I soon saw that it was indeed possible. that light would and did shine again.
My niece and nephews are that light. Our Reed is that light. As he grows, I am introduced to a whole new world of first’s and joys. As an aunt, it is my greatest honour to get to watch the children in my family grow. He is a miracle for certain, with his beautiful blue eyes that will undoubtedly someday win girls’ hearts everywhere. It reminds me of an Amy Sky song:
As he passes his first birthday and the milestones begin to pile up, I am surprised how fast the time really does fly by. He has developed a personality and highly evident characteristics. My niece is a year and a half ahead of him in the transformation of childhood; her baby brother makes three. I look ahead to their futures and I treasure every moment I get to be witness to all these things, as I see them with the other four senses I still possess.
I had a lack of prior babysitting experience that one often accumulates during the teenage years. Most parents might not have been all that eager to leave me alone with their children and I had no confidence in myself to want that anyway, but I did miss something of value in just such a hobby as a teenager. I am finally given the opportunity to prove myself just as capable as anyone else. I’ll admit that the diaper changes aren’t my area of expertise, not that such things are impossible. I am given a chance to learn from these little people, just as they learn themselves, that to give up on things one wants isn’t really an option.
My siblings give me the opportunities I need to learn how to take care of the children that, undoubtedly are more important than themselves. They have always known me as their blind sister second, and simply their sister first. I am Auntie Kerry to their children. I hope to give my niece and nephews things in life, to demonstrate to them important lessons of value that other children might not receive, about perseverance. The outlook that it is possible to triumph against anything that might be standing in their way. That there is more to people than at first glance, to be discovered if only one gives it a chance.
As my nephew grew, he became a little boy with his own voice and his own personality. I wanted him to know me, to see me often enough that I am one of those people he can always count on seeing, to be there for him. For young children, familiarity is key. I intended, from the beginning, to be there always and forever. From the very start I would be someone who was present in his life – all he’s ever known.
All that work it took to get him here with us and we never forget. As he grows and learns, the experience I’ve gained this past year has been invaluable. I have a comfort with children that I’ve never before had. Just as I’ve stumbled and received bumps and bruises along the way, falling and learning how to get right back up again, he’s also received these lessons. I watch and protect him as if he’s my own, my sister’s most prized gift. I would give my life for that kid and I like to think we’re buddies. He looks at me as a playmate and a pal, someone he can count on, and I hope he always will.
When he grabs a hold of my fingers and we walk…when he laughs out loud at something I do – I store those moments away in my mind and heart. I am blown away by the miracles of modern medicine and what it can get us. It’s amazing where we started out and how far science has come. Those long gone from our lives, ones we’ve loved, would be amazed at what has taken place and the sweet child we now love. He’s here with us and I hold him close and feel him breathe when he is sleeping in my arms. I thank the nurses, doctors, and technicians for their dedication to achieving this most precious outcome. His tiny fingers in mine – that is perfect happiness to me. The sound of his voice and his giggle is the sweetest sound and purity personified.
As we come full circle and he is taking his first steps, we eagerly await with anticipation the new words he begins to speak. I feel sad when I realize he’s growing up before our very eyes and I will miss rocking him to sleep when he is too big to be rocked. Time doesn’t stand still, but it gives me hope for anything – that all is possible, That you just never know what’s around the corner. Something so sweet that was once not here is now a part of our lives and the world is inconceivable any other way. The children in my life are gifts, more precious than gold. I see them not with my eyes, but with everything else in me and with all I have to give them of myself, and always will.
“Where there was weakness I found my strength, all in the eyes of a boy.”
Originally posted within a few weeks of me starting this blog, I had written this essay for a writing competition. I did not win and then I decided to publish it here.
I decided to practice my editing skills and have split it into two parts. The first part I posted just the other day, on my nephew’s birthday.
My nephew, the subject of this essay, turned three years old this week. It’s incredible and unbelievable, all at once. He is growing up so fast.
I have posted the second part on this Throw-Back Thursday, because I want to look back and see how far we’ve come, while I remind myself that the hard times can seem like they will never end. I know better times and things are possible.
“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
This week started off and ended with a number of holidays, occasions, and celebrations.
TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL
Sunday: Father’s Day
For my amazing father.
Last June was the first opportunity, on my then relatively new blog, to let my own dad know what he meant to me and I did that by writing about a particularly meaningful memory from almost twenty years ago.
I simply want all people to be treated equally and I hope what happened in my neighbouring country is a step in the right direction.
Saturday: Happy Birthday Helen Keller.
For the important role she has played in my life, ever since I was introduced to her in school as a young girl.
Helen Keller was born, on June 27th, 1880 in Alabama. She suddenly lost her sight and hearing, during a fever, as an infant.
She was lost and locked away in the darkness and the silence, until her teacher came into her life at age seven, and from there she was unstoppable. She learned how to speak with her hands. She went on to become a first in so many things.
She was a feminist, spokesperson for social issues, disability rights activist, and an author who traveled all over the world.
She lived life to the fullest, as much as she possibly could, and she has taught me a lot about perseverance and resilience.
I give Helen the last word for the week…
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Please feel free to join me there, where more will be introduced in the months to come by myself, Rose, and others.
There’s just a lot going on right now, as spring arrives, and always in the world of blogging.
Q: If you could “cure” the disabilities that affect your life, would you?
Why or why not?
A: Do any of you remember the Barqs Rootbeer commercial with the blind man?
Perhaps not. I searched all over YouTube and found every old Barqs commercial but the one I wanted.
Well, the blind man is offered a Barqs and, upon drinking, he proclaims:
“I can see! I can see!”
With this the other guy says:
“No. But it’s got some bite to it though.”
Funny stuff when I saw it, at the time. I quote it now and again, but it raises some interesting questions.
I like to imagine I were the one taking a drink of pop one day and suddenly I am able to see, just like the commercial promised.
I used to answer the above question from this post with a defiant “NO” because I thought that meant I was accepting and proud of my situation and my life.
Does the fact that I have changed my tune on that mean I haven’t accepted anything after all?
I don’t know. All I know is that if I had the chance, suddenly to see, I would be a fool not to take it.
I am not talking about literally, as science stands now.
All the time I read about some new developments in the world of medicine, allowing the blind to see. I usually don’t jump at the chance because it isn’t as the headlines would make it seem.
Most times it’s speaking about some contraption or device, worn on the head, wired up and with a battery pack. It’s some pair of space-aged glasses that send some sort of signals and produce outlines or shapes, giving the wearer some kind of ability to sense objects in front of them.
This is how I see now. Anything more than that gets more complicated.
There is no pill to take and no surgery in the world can bring back the sight I used to have, let alone the sight I have never had before.
If, in some futuristic or magical moment, true and full vision were possible I would be first in line.
I won’t stand here anymore and say I am happy with my life and don’t need to be fixed or cured. I wouldn’t get in my own way like that.
If I could see things would…well, they would still be complicated as life often is, but they would be easier. It would make things a whole lot easier on myself and on others.
I could see colours again. I could see the expressions on my family’s faces.
I could drive. I could write. I could walk unassisted and unaided.
It would be easier to find employment and the job prospects would grow exponentially.
I am not too proud to say I could use the help.
Wanting that and wanting more for my life than I currently have does not mean I am not happy right now.
Being blind has taught me to appreciate things and to not take life for granted. I might not have that same perspective if it weren’t for blindness, not that I would be a bad person had I never experienced all that.
I am glad I did not have parents who couldn’t accept my disability and who went on a determined search for some magic cure. Some parents did or do just that.
I was taught to work with what I’ve got and to make the best of it. I’ve had a mostly happy life. I am lucky.
IF I could see though, I would. I would take that huge gift, if science or some other entity offered it. I would experience things I have only dreamed of.
I would take it and rush to stand in a bookstore or library, surrounded by my beloved books, of which I could finally pick up and read.
The world would look strange to me and I can’t quite imagine it, as I write this. What kind of world would that be? What would it look like to me?
I recommend a movie now, all about a man’s journey to almost having his sight back.
At First Sight: starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino.
I saw it in the theatre in 1999, it struck a cord, and I have wondered seriously on the question ever since.
It’s about finding love and what two people do to stay together and to make it work.
She wants only the best for him and that, she thinks, includes helping him get his sight back.
Was it his blindness that got in the way of their happiness or the fact that she couldn’t accept him for him?
This is a question, in a way, for another time. It only demonstrates how complex it really is, to suddenly get one’s sight back.
I answer this question with a yes, while others may answer differently, but in the meantime I like commercials that can make a joke out of something so hard to fathom for anyone who has been blind all her life like I have.
Would you choose to get rid of something about yourself, anything, if you had that choice?