With only one major snowstorm this year, New York City has had a pretty mild winter. Despite the lack of that powdery white stuff, my house has been unusually sick since January. I, myself, have had four different eye procedures and multiple eye infections. The rest of my family combated a horrendous stomach flu in January and as I write this my three-year-old is suffering from a bad cold with an equally bad attitude. Trust me, mommy needs a cocktail and it’s not even three o’clock.
Part of the reason I started Blind Motherhood was to give myself an outlet to chronicle my journey through parenting as a blind mom – the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, there has been a whole lot of “ugly” for me as of late – but there has also been growth for me personally, as a mother, through my writing.
The first piece I ever got published was “A Blind Mom’s 6 Imaginary Friends” on one of my absolute favorite sites, The Mighty. I wrote it out of a sense of frustration, and perhaps a certain level of desperation, as I came to grips with the fact that I had absolutely no fellow mommy friends who took an active part in my children’s lives. After The Mighty published the article, I was contacted by another fellow blind mom named Nicole.
Making Friends with Mighty Moms
Nicole introduced me to several other visually impaired parents, all of whom were more than happy to become part of my life via social media. This group of amazing people lived in every corner of the country, representing every ethnicity and culture you could imagine. I’ve met blind mothers with grown kids. I’ve messaged mommies with guide dogs. I’ve been able to support pregnant and new visually impaired mommies. The experience has helped me to understand that even though I may live in an area where parenting blind is still a bit unusual; a network of seasoned parents does exist.
Disabled parenting isn’t some illusive unicorn. It’s not the stuff of Lifetime movies. We are here… breaking barriers, loving our kids and using whatever means necessary to get the job done.
Hell hath no fury like a toddler with the stomach flu. As I vented on Facebook about this hellacious experience, describing how the bug made its way to me, my husband and then back to my eldest daughter, I got countless messages on social media – specifically from visually impaired mommies.
They knew the struggle I was dealing with.
Imagine trying to catch puke in a bucket when your toddler is screaming and you can’t see (literally) where the hell the vomit is going!
Try spot cleaning a rug, using only your sense of touch, and hours later stepping in some bodily fluid you accidentally missed in the last round of clean up.
Yes, it is TMI! But this is life for a blind mom.
When my husband went down for the count; it was all me, all the time. I had to pull myself together to take care of my family. I had to keep everyone fed, try to keep my younger child from catching the virus, and maintain enough energy to keep bleaching everything. The only thing that kept me going that week were the messages of encouragement I received on Facebook.
That first friend that I met in response to The Mighty, Nicole, reached out to me and asked for my home address. She and another fellow blind mom, Karen, wanted to send me something to help out. Karen is a guide dog user and somebody I could totally see getting into massive amounts of trouble with (Seriously, we would need bail money). I gave Nicole my address thinking she and Karen would probably send me a card or some flowers.
The next day, the doorbell rang. It was my local grocery delivery service. The driver filled my front porch with groceries specifically chosen to help ease my family’s stomach flu symptoms.
There was gingerale, Gatorade, instant rice, bananas, canned soups and saltines amongst many other items I was totally out of. It was everything I needed in that moment so I could take care of my sick household.
The fact that these two women – whom I have never even met – who live in two completely different states, spent their time and their money to help me, another mom, speaks volumes about who they are as people. They didn’t just save my ass by feeding my family. This simple, unexpected gesture gave me the emotional push that I needed to keep going.
So today, as I once again break out the bleach, hand-sanitizer and Clorox wipes, I don’t feel as stressed as I did almost two months ago. I understand my kids are going to get sick. I’ll wipe my fair share of runny noses and clean up my fair share of puke. But the fact that there are other moms out there who “get” what it’s like to navigate parenthood while being blind – and will go the extra mile to offer me support – reassures me that this too shall pass.
Nicole and Karen will always be my “Mighty Moms” because of how a simple blog post on The Mighty started a much needed friendship. I’m so glad I started Blind Motherhood. I feel so blessed to be a mom – even on days when I’m overwhelmed by certain bodily fluids. I admire the moms who’ve accomplished raising children while blind or visually impaired before me and I hope to continue to shed light on this journey for others in the future. I’ll never lose sight of life, love & laughter – in sickness or in health!
Pictured: Groceries from my “Mighty Moms”, Nicole & Karen.