My son Francis is amazing!  Although legally blind, he has led an incredibly successful life.  I think one of the reasons he has done so well is because he was raised without having a disability. If that sounds odd, you have to define disability as not having the ability to do what one wants in order to lead a full and happy life.  With proper modifications and technology, Francis has never been held back in any area of life.

Of course, we have chosen achievable goals when he was growing up. One of the many topics we tackled was how to fit sports into his life. Of course he could not play baseball or soccer, but he could be on the wrestling team and swim team. (He excelled and won championships in both areas.) The one sport that I worried about  was his skiing.  He learned at an early age to traverse the White Mountains in New Hampshire with a sighted guide skiing in front of him, usually his dad.  This petrified me because I was afraid he was going to ski into a tree and die. The fact that he is still alive and kicking today is proof that he didn’t, but that did not lessen my motherly concerns.

When Francis went to college at Cambridge in England, he had the good fortune to make many friends with whom he could travel all over Europe.  One day, I received a photo via e-mail, accompanied by the comment “Look, mom, no trees!” The photo was one of  Francis in ski gear, standing at the top of a ski run in the Alps.  The sun reflecting off his dark goggles was no match for the shining smile on his face.  There were no trees to ski into because they were above the tree line.  He was safe!  And, most importantly for a mom, he cared enough to send me a picture to SHOW me that he was safe.  The little cockles of my heart warmed at the thought…what a considerate son!

It wasn’t until a few months later that I saw the news of a large avalanche in that same area and three people were presumed dead.  DEAD?  I immediately remembered that beautiful picture of my thoughtful son, and I laughed.  (Yes, I laughed.)  That picture shows that my son does not have a disability because he had the same chance of dying as the skiers buried in the snow.  He is truly successful!


Links to my book:

The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane

Link to the Readers Digest review of my book:


Comments on: "“Look Mom, no trees!”" (82)

  1. patsheveland said:

    What a great story! As someone who has spent my career working with people who have had some sort of injury at work, we utilize the terms capabilities vs. disabilities so we can focus on what a person can do versus what they cannot…it is a very powerful distinction. Kudos to you for allowing Francis to embrace his capabilities as he was growing up – I can’t imagine that you could be much prouder of his as you are right now !

  2. That is absolutely fantastic, if a little scary (for you!)

  3. Gotta love the boys.I remember reading about your boy in your book and kudos to you for raising such an amazing man.Blessings

  4. What a delight to read! What a delight to contemplate! One could only wish all children, regardless of abilities, were raised with such hope and encouragement.

  5. Love this post. Thank you so much.

  6. What an inspirational story x

  7. Beautiful post. Go Francis, go his amazing parents for instilling in him the confidence to be exactly what he can be!

  8. This is so cool. My son is totally blind and I’ve been wondering how to take him skiing because we all love it. Still not sure since he is now completely blind…

    • Many ski areas now have adaptive skiing for people with disabilities. There is one where the person/child who is blind shares the skis with the ski instructor. Or, they have a great chair ski! Your son might enjoy sledding where you can ensure no obstacles and he can just go free wheeling sliding down the hill.

  9. Great story! Your son is truly amazing, an inspiration to all.

  10. I have a number of blogs that I follow, as well as trying to post regularly on my own. With a big family and a busy life, I don’t always get the chance to read all the posts, or even very many of them, of the blogs I follow. But yours…I always, always, take the time to read, and it’s always so uplifting. I’m never disappointed. Thank you.

  11. delightful to read this one!

  12. that’s awesome! I love that he sent the pic with just the perfect caption! What a great heart-warming moment!!

  13. Oh it’s so scary to let your children make their own way. Some of the tales I’ve heard of my daughter’s escapades have curdled my blood.

  14. Thank you for sharing this, it definitely gives a lot of inspiration and courage to all of us! Have a beautiful Sunday!

  15. Another beautiful and touching story of your gifted family. Thanks!

  16. feelingjoy said:

    There are many gifts to receive from this story, Thank you.

  17. Hi. I enjoy your blog. I do not know how you feel about blogging awards, but I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
    I am new to all of this so I hope it is okay.
    More details at

  18. strawberryquicksand said:

    My friend’s late husband, Mike Kosior (google that name) had Norrie disease which left him blind and deaf. He was an amazing person – and had all but top clearance at the Pentagon for his work. He was brought up as a normal kid, and taught to chase his dreams and achieve them. He is sorely missed by many, many people, and the world is a duller place for him having left it, but a brighter one for him having been here in the first place. He is an inspiration. It’s amazing what people can achieve with the right upbringing and mindset. 🙂

  19. How amazing! I love your explanation of disability. My son was born severely bow-legged and had to wear leg braces for two years, starting when he was four. We lived upstairs, and his braces didn’t allow him to bend at the knee. I spent about four hours helping him figure out how to get up the stairs by himself…he learned to lift his foot to the next step, then pull himself up using the banister. We never treated him as though he was disabled (although temporarily), so he never realized that he was different. Later when he lost most of his hearing in his left ear, he never let it stop him from becoming a musician…with perfect pitch.

    I think a parent’s attitude is reflected in how successful their child is within their life circumstances. A huge congrats to you for raising your kids to be just as abled as anyone else. 🙂

  20. noordinaryjoy61 said:

    What an amazing and heartwarming story!

  21. Your son sounds like a gem, and a child like that is the unmistakable product of top-notch parenting. So, thank you both for showing us what is possible!

  22. Your son is a wonderful reflection of you and how you raised him. Kudos on a job very well done!

  23. I worry about my son driving on the freeways, and (obviously) he has no sight disability. I think Moms just worry. I think your son must be a terrific kid, especially since he knows of your worries, and wants to ease them. You should be very proud indeed.

  24. That is an amazing and inspiring story. Your son is living proof of that old saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

  25. What a beautiful story! I have worked for many years with disabled children. I was diagnosed with MS last year . . . I used to feel as though God put me in their path to encourage them — but the truth was they encouraged me. They taught me that difference only makes you more spectacular. Ordinary people overcoming extraordinary circumstances.

  26. WE can learn so much from our disabled family members. WE raise our autistic son just as we do our “normal” kid. I think it is good that both see that they are loved the same.

  27. What an amazing approach – so admired! x

  28. I think the reason your son is successful is because you gave him the power to be successful. Limits are not a bad thing but learning to exceed them is a gift.

  29. This is a great story. Absolutely beautiful!

  30. Love the story, and your inspiring blog. I try not to let my PD get to me, especially because of my family, so when I read your blog, it gives me a jolt of encouragement.

  31. I just read this in your book. This is one of the posts I read right away also. I would love to “interview” you for my friday feature. If you are interested please email me Thank you for such inspiring posts.


  32. What a wonderful way to view his abilities! I know my mother faced the challenges that came with my older brother’s diagnosis (severe autism and general mental slowness) with a can-do attitude. Now, my brother walks, gestures to indicate interest, and can lift a spoon to feed himself – all things that doctors swore up and down he’d never be able to do. 🙂 So it made me happy to see you giving your son freedom to try these sort of sports – even if it’s really scary!

  33. Congratulations on such a fine performance! You’ve just been nominated as a very inspiring Blogger! please accept your award at

    cue the applause!!

    Much Love Marie !

    • I really do appreciate the award nomination, but I really don’t “do” most awards. They are really not something I can follow up with….it involves work on my part and I am really quite lazy!
      Thank you anyway.

      • It’s ok!! I actually in a rather blonde moment thought it was some kind of blogging / WordPress thing not just a bla bla thing lol!

  34. Great story! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  35. Trinity Parker said:

    As one of my favourite bloggers, I have nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. To see how this works, please see my post Keep up the wonderful posting, you are truly an inspiration.
    P.S. I know you love saying that you are just a normal person doing what any normal person would do… but you’re not. Thank you for inspiring me and so many others.

    • I really do appreciate the award nomination, but I really don’t “do” most awards. They are really not something I can follow up with….it involves work on my part and I am really quite lazy!
      Thank you anyway.

      • Trinity Parker said:

        Whenever I am having a lazy moment (and there are many), I prefer to call it a “mummy’s keeping her sanity moment”. I am sure you get far too many to keep up with. I completely understand.

      • Yes, I understand, although it is often the reverse. (I love to be lazy!!!)

  36. I’m new to wordpress and blogging. I wish I knew a long time ago What could be found here! The thought of your Son on top of that mountain gave me a great big smile. So cool…

  37. I nominated you for the “Beautiful Mama Blog Award.” If you are interested in accepting, just grab the award image from my blog site and include three things you love about motherhood and nominate others if you want. Thanks for your doses of inspiration!

    My nomination for the “Beautiful Mama Blog Award” is for Raising 5 Kids with Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog This mom has the patience and love of a saint!!!! Start with her About page and I guarantee you will be hooked! She and her children have overcome some amazing obstacles. A very beautiful mama indeed!

    • I really do appreciate the award nomination, but I really don’t “do” most awards. They are really not something I can follow up with….it involves work on my part and I am really quite lazy!
      Thank you anyway.

  38. Amazing – you must be so proud!

  39. FYI: I do believe blind football (no, not ‘soccer’, whatever that is) is a Paralympic sport. Maybe your son could give it a go and become a Paralympian!

  40. […] am nominating  Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog her blog is so encouraging and beautiful it warms my heart each time I read one of her […]

  41. beautifullyrenewed said:

    Hello! First I want to thank you for your blog, your writing is wonderful and your posts are so encouraging and full of heart! I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a beautiful mama blog award, its up to you if you want to accept it, I invite you to see my post here: The specifics are there. Have a great day!

    • I really do appreciate the award nomination, but I really don’t “do” most awards. They are really not something I can follow up with….it involves work on my part and I am really quite lazy!
      Thank you anyway.

      • beautifullyrenewed said:

        Sorry it took me a bit to respond, I haven’t been on here, I completely understand! Have a great day!

  42. liamoutselou said:

    Wonderful to read this!

  43. Hi! I also nominated you for a blogger award, see your mention here, You’re requested to answer a few questions I posed, tell us 7-11 things about yourself and then nominate 7-11 other bloggers. Its a bit of work, but can be fun.

  44. I stumbled onto your blog this morning and I’m so glad I did!! Your entries are really inspiring and really brings the idea of someone being “differently-abled” rather than “dis-abled”. I volunteer with an organization within my community, where I got to know many youths with cognitive and physical disabilities, and they never seize to amaze me on all the different ways they tackle and overcome everyday challenges! Amazing blog!

  45. Not only is your son an inspiration but the support and encouragement you and your husband display in raising him are exemplary. The faith, confidence and love you share with Francis are qualities all parents need to give their children, disabled or not.

  46. An amazing, inspirational read as I listen to Andrea Bocelli who is also legally blind. It’s heart rendering to know that with some people, there is no obstacle that will stop them. Many blessings and write on!

  47. I know you probably have been nominated repeatedly for blogging awards, I never the less am nominating you for the versatile blogger award. You are amazing and your writing touches me.

    • I really do appreciate the award nomination, but I really don’t “do” most awards. They are really not something I can follow up with….it involves work on my part and I am really quite lazy!
      Thank you anyway.

      • You are welcome and I completely understand where you are coming from with the “work”. It took me the greater part of the morning hours, which I should have spent with more pressing issues… 😉

  48. davinaazalia said:

    Reblogged this on I see the Rainbow and commented:
    a good & awaken story

  49. Amazing story, really inspirational you should be very proud.

  50. Awesome story! Living life without boundaries:)

  51. Wow! Just goes to show, it’s all in how you see it. And he obviously “sees” quite a bit!

  52. Inspiring post, really enjoyed reading it. Many thanks!

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