“Look Mom, no trees!”
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: http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/