Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Touch It

My soon to be three-years-old, absolutely gorgeous, sugary sweet, but occasionally bossy niece, Elyssa, has figured out that her auntie is blind. Her slight awareness of my sight impairment began this time last year. She started to notice how I wouldn't know she was doing certain things right away. She also noticed that it would take me a long time to find something that may be within sight range of someone who had normal eyesight. I could tell that she knew something was wrong with me, but she really couldn't put her finger on it. Well, she's finally figured it out.

Now, if Elyssa wants me to see something, she brings it to me or directs me to come to wherever she is. Once she has whatever she wants me to "see" in front of her, she takes my index finger on whichever hand she is pulling on, and she tells me to "Touch it." It's clear that Elyssa knows that the way her auntie "sees" is by touch. How cute and smart of her!

One day, she asked me what happened to my eyes. How do explain to a two-year-old the cause and outcome of Glaucoma? I don't think you really can. So, I just told her that my eyes were sick. Her next question... "But why?" My response... "Elyssa, I wish I knew the answer to that question."

One day, I will be able to sit down and tell Elyssa all about my blindness and how it has impacted my life. However, I will probably never get a chance to explain why my eyes got so sick. Only God knows the answer to that.

**Elyssa, thank you for helping your aunt see by touch! Love you, pretty girl!!!!!!**


Renea said...

So precious. It's good to see you again, friend! I've missed reading your writing.

Andrea S. said...

I once read a story by a hearing, sighted Dad married to a deaf-blind woman. They had a little hearing, sighted girl together, and had agreed beforehand that the Mom would be the primary caretaker. So in order to enable the Mom to to read picture books to their daughter, the Dad printed out all the book text in Braille and also descriptions of the pictures. So if the girl pointed at something on the page the Mom would know to say, "Yes, that's a yellow duck, sweetie."

Apparently the family was visiting someone else's home one day and their 4-year-old daughter was playing with the other family's child when she started pulling the other child's books off the shelves. She kept saying that this book was broken, this book is broken too, broken broken, all these books are broken. They got the father to come over and figure out why the little girl thought all the books were broken. It seemed the books had no Braille in them, and she knew that books with no Braille were books that couldn't be read to her by Mommy. So Daddy had to explain to her that, well, honey, there's more than one way that grown ups read ... !

Little children do catch on to things faster than grown ups give them credit for! One blogger, Dave Hingsburger ( has been using a wheelchair for about as long as two little girls in his life have been alive. (He and his partner have a sort of grandfather relationship to them.) And although the older one particularly occasionally has questions, both have come to understand what it means in their own way to the best you would expect for their ages (5 and I think two or three).