It feels like this family has been waiting for you forever. Four and a half years is a long time for a blind woman to wait for her first guide dog. I’ll admit, giving birth to two beautiful baby girls, running a household, and managing this blog has kept me fairly occupied. However, the thought of what your presence could mean to my life has lingered in the back of my mind. At the risk of sounding too much like the 80’s band, Firehouse...Frances, “I need ya now.” I need this to work out between us, girl. As I wait for your arrival, I want you to know you are already loved…so…so loved.
I think it’s only fair to warn you as we get to know each other over the next few weeks of Home Training with Guiding Eyes for the Blind; I have a few quirks. Ah, hell, who am I kidding? I’m fricken’ weird – like really weird. I like to refer to myself as an outgoing, introvert. Meaning? I can be the life of the party, but in reality; I prefer quiet solitude.
I love going for long walks, baking, crafting and watching horror movies. Man, that just sounded like a really lame, boring profile for an online dating site. Geesh! You can see why I need you to help me get out more!
Anyway, Franny I hope you can adapt to my quirkiness and introvertive tendencies.
Can I call you that? Can I call you “Franny?”
My “Mostly Wonderful”
Then there’s my husband – the guy I call “Mostly Wonderful.” He’s been bestowed that title because “most” of the time he’s a pretty phenomenal man. The rest of the time; he’s my third child. “Mostly Wonderful” has always been a big supporter of adding you to the family. We’ve had lots of dogs together over the years: Bloodhounds, shepherds, Dachshunds and mutts. We’ve never had a Labrador Retriever. Never a dog like you.
“Mostly Wonderful” thinks I need more independence and I tend to agree. Having you by my side will undoubtedly boost my confidence and hopefully my approachability when I’m out with my family. I don’t know where the hell we came up with all this psycho-babble, but you get the picture.
You see, my husband tends to worry a lot about me, Franny. He worries that I can’t see at night and sometimes need to work late. He worries when the forecast calls for the slightest chance of rain and I get delayed at a doctor’s appointment. He’s afraid I will get hit by a car crossing the street or fall down and injure myself. “Mostly Wonderful” thinks you will somehow protect me and that’s a big responsibility.
Two Precious Girls
My daughters are over the moon that you’re on your way. Aoife, who is almost 2, will most likely want to ride you like a small pony. Allow me to apologize for this in advance. She loves dogs and is absolutely fearless. She will be your rough and tumble companion. Aoife plays hard and loves harder. If it’s playtime you want; it’s playtime you’ll get with my little girl.
Now Nuala, my 3-year-old; she’s a different story. That one, she’s a thinker. She likes to ask questions and she expects a decent answer. Franny, she knows you’re on your way to our house right now. But in her frighteningly intelligent, mature little mind – there is no such thing as a free lunch in this family. You are here to do a job. Ask Nuala what that job is and she will tell you, “Frances is coming to live with us to be mommy’s eyes.”
Frances, you are here to “be my eyes”, as my three-year-old so eloquently puts it. You will guide me through every major event in my life over the next six to eight years. You will be with me on my daughters first day of kindergarten, our first Girl Scouts meeting and beyond. You’ll lead me to karate classes and guide me to piano lessons. You’ll sit beside me at soccer games and dental appointments, holiday recitals and PTA meetings.
Franny, you have no idea the imprint you will have on my children’s lives. As we both age together, blind mother and guide dog, I foresee your role changing with my daughters.
Today, you will be playmate. A sibling.
Years from now, as we bond closer together; you will become somewhat of a surrogate mother.
These are “our” babies, Franny and we have to work together to make sure we get to every place they need us to be.
Together, as a team.
We will also utilize our working relationship as a method to educate the community about blindness, guide dogs and disabled parenting.
Our partnership will keep this family going – full speed ahead.
Frances, I am Grateful
So as I sit here, waiting for that Guiding Eyes van to pull in my driveway, I want to tell you just how grateful I feel that you are being brought into this crazy house. There will be plenty of yelling, crying, time-outs and sleepless nights throughout our years together. That, I can promise you. But I will also promise to love and honor the gift you are to my life. You will never be taken for granted. Never.
You will always, “be my eyes” Frances, but first and foremost, you will be “my partner and friend.” You and I, we’re going to make it. We will live our lives together, “never losing sight of life, love and laughter.”
Welcome Home, Franny!