"Honey, don't worry," I said to my husband as I kissed him good-bye. "Got lots of things planned for the kids today."
But it wouldn't be okay. While he was at work, I was alone with my three little boys. My insecurities blasted me like the cold drafts in St. Louis winters. And those silent shortcomings added to the unexpected and painful interruptions in my day.
I stood at the kitchen sink. "I'm okay, honey," I said to my seven-year-old son, Jason, as I pressed a piece of ice to my forehead.
"Are you crying?" he asked.
I brushed a tear off my cheek and nodded as my heart ached. How could I tell my three little boys that their mommy's vision was diminishing? They would never understand about incurable retinal disease or the fact that I inherited it from their grandfather.
For the moment, the tiny field of vision I still had ushered me from task to task as their mommy.
Pressing ice to my forehead to dull the pain, I sat on the couch in our family room. And while they all romped in the backyard, I made the decision. My limited eyesight wouldn't interfere in my role as their mom. On the contrary, I'd use each episode to teach them about life.
"You have a bump on your forehead," Jason said when he came inside. I had removed the ice and the spot still throbbed.
"I do," I said matter-of-factly. "There's a lump, but I didn't fall down. I'm really okay. In life we all have bumps in the road. We'll run into things we never expected to be there. I run into things because I can't see too well." I pulled him closer. "As you grow up, you'll probably have obstacles too. And when you do, guess what? God is already watching over you. Sometimes he allows a bump, but if you trust in him, he'll never let you fall."
Each time I faced a challenge, I found lessons for each of them. My three-year-old brought a book for me to read to him—at least attempt to read with my limited vision. I sat him on my lap and opened it to the first page.
"Mommy it's upside down," he said as he turned the book in my hands.
"That was the wrong way, wasn't it?" I turned his chubby cheek toward me. "Can you tell me other things that you know are wrong?"
"When I hit Jeff?" he asked.
Months swept by, and the dreaded day came. I woke up and tried to fix my eyes on an object, but I saw nothing. I turned to the right, to the left; I squinted but saw no shadows, colors, or shapes. I was totally blind.