Today I got to meet some very special friends. Tara is the wife of a man my husband met playing video games with online, and their two sons play Minecraft with my son as well. I had met the husband and his oldest son in person, but had only chatted online with Tara. It’s hard to tell with online communications, but we seemed to get along pretty well. As it turns out, we get along pretty well in person too!
But here’s the thing: Tara is blind, and has been since birth. She was born without optic nerves. None. So for her, though she has challenges not common to most, she is used to it. Her husband and sons are used to it. Even her friends are used to it. They are no strangers to disability, and they all seem to know what she needs. Or at least aren’t too shy to ask if they don’t.
The strange thing is that as we were driving home, I was almost in tears, and I couldn’t figure out why. But after being home for awhile and journaling some, it hit me. I spent two full hours in a noisy indoor pool and recreation center, with dozens of strangers, but yet I felt peace throughout all of it. Why? Because no one was fussing over me, or treating me differently, or looking at me with sad, pity filled eyes. Sure, some asked questions about my recent health setbacks, and how my CI was working for me, but it was just conversation. They wanted to get to know me, and that was all.
Do you know how refreshing that is? To feel like just one of the other parents? Not singled out for being disabled, yet still respected for my particular challenges (meaning no one tried talking to me from behind or across the room)? Let me tell you, it’s a wonderful feeling, and I am wishing I could hold on to that feeling for as long as I can. I don’t know how well that will work, so if I lose it we’ll just have to go down and visit Tara and her friends again!