Recently I had a little epiphany that led to the inspiration for this post. It’s easy sometimes to find all the negative things about being blind or the disadvantages…not being able to drive, see the thing your child is enthusiastically trying to point out to you, sit on the floor and look at picture books with your little ones , etc. But I had a moment recently that put things into perspective for me and made me realize some of the benefits or advantages to being a blind parent when it comes to not being able to drive. .
Since I don’t drive, I often sit in the back seat next to my children. I have a habit of holding hands with my children while we ride places. I guess it started with my daughter when she was a toddler as a way to console her when she was a baby, but I also have noticed that during this time I often find myself showing some kind of affection to whichever child is next to me—stroaking their heads or cheeks and holding their hands. On one ride recently, my three-year-old son eagerly petitioned for me to hold his hand moments after we began driving. Up until that moment, this was just something we did—a sweet little thing between me and my children which I didn’t really think much of. But at that moment, it hit me what a special experience this was and what kind of future ramifications this bonding might have. . For those ten minutes, I was validating and filling up my child’s emotional bank account. I often suffer from SUV envy and wish I could drive, but right then I realized that this was one of the perks of not driving.
So, this little experience got me thinking about other advantages to being a blind parent. Here is a list of a couple I’ve come up with so far.
- Quality family time–Since we walk places a lot or spend a lot of time waiting for buses, trains, rides, etc., we get a lot of hand holding time and quality talk time. I often tell stories, (their favorites are my “Mary JO Stories” from when I was a kid), teach lessons, answer questions or listen to my kids chatter on about their interests during these times. We also have a lot of fun singing songs and making up our own little ditties. At Christmas time, we often sing carols as we walk places.
- Great exercise–Since walking is one of our main modes of transportation, this is a no brainer. Keeps you humble–Nothing will keep you humble more than asking others for a ride or having a questionable looking individual whom you’d already pre-judged prove once again to you the importance of not judging others. I can’t count the number of times someone like this has offered me pure kindness by opening a door, or offered to carry a car seat across a street or into a building when I obviously looked like I needed help.
- Strengthening friendships– We often ride with other families to playgroups or events. This has allowed me to make some great “Mom friends” and usually makes the experience a little more enjoyable since you have someone to go with. It also helps motivate us to go out on hard days when you know you are accountable to someone else. I’ve also become better acquainted with many neighbors and people from my church or work this way.
- Networking Opportunities–Since we take uber a lot with different drivers or ride public transit, we meet lots of interesting people from different circles and learn about different things. It has greatly expanded our bubble. I’ve learned about new restaurants, local festivals and points of interest, met lots of people from other countries, and learned lots of random facts. I’ve also been able to share info with others and sort of “give back” by sharing my own experiences. Yes, there are often some crasies on public transit, so I am cautious of what my children see and experience, but this also allows me the opportunity to teach them to be accepting of differences, and Christ-like when it’s hard to do so.
So there is just a quick list of a few advantages. I know there are more and I’d love for those of you reading to share ones you come up with here with me. Thanks for reading.