The Fun and Joy of Motherhood As a Visually Impaired Mom

Editor’s Note: This is part of our ongoing series on Laughter is Often the Best Medicine, a series that encourages people who are blind or visually impaired to laugh at blunders and celebrate victories.

Celebrating Mother’s Day in Style

By Audrey Demmitt, peer advisor

Audrey with three teenagers

Dark restaurants are often very difficult to navigate for people who are visually impaired or blind. One Mother’s day, my family took me out to dinner. My children were all teenagers at the time and, like all teens, they were uncomfortable with public guffaws. We entered our favorite restaurant and were escorted to a table. I thought I saw a booth and went to seat myself and scoot around. But alas, there was no bench and I crashed to the floor on my bum. With my dress tangled around my waist and my arms and legs flailing, I looked like a beetle on its back. I laughed so hard I could not get up! My children were all mortified and wanted to leave. Mom prevailed. It was Mother’s Day, after all, and we stayed!

The Good Old Days of Shopping with Little Kids

by Maribel Steel, peer advisor

Maribel with 3 small children

From the moment my sighted daughter could string coherent words together, she brought everything to life in my mind’s eye by describing them in child-like detail. She learned that if she placed something in to my hand, or drew a particular shape into my open palm, it meant I could ‘see’ the thing she was describing. When her younger brother was born, my daughter kept a close eye on his every move.

Shopping Expedition

One day we set off to a large department store. On arrival, my children scampered off with typical excitement, as if the space was a gigantic indoor playground. I searched in vain to find them, needing my children’s visual help to read price tags and clothing sizes. I could hear them, but where were they?

I grabbed my four-year-old daughter by her cardigan sleeve as she sprinted past, recognising her giggle and growled at her, “Claire, stop running around. Tell me quietly, what does this price tag say?” Hoping for a discreet reply, I cringed as she yelled, “Dollar sign. One. Three. Full Stop. Nine-Five,” and wriggled free from my grip to hide once more with her two-year-old partner in crime under another rack of clothing somewhere.

I called for them both to come back, pushing an empty stroller and spent most of my shopping time as a super-sleuth, tracking their naughty giggles coming from under racks of ladies lingerie, then over to men’s winter shirts. It was a hide and seek paradise for my children. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry …, thinking, “little devils, just wait till I get hold of them.”

I started to circle the aisles, narrowing down the spot where I could hear contriving whispers. I whispered back, “If you come out now, I’ll buy you both a lolly.”

My son was first to come out from his hiding place to dart back into the waiting stroller like a joey (baby kangaroo) scrambling into an empty pouch. My daughter crawled out from underneath a dressing gown rack and resumed her angelic chaperone position with a sweet expression as if to show she had never left my side.

My “Well Behaved” Children

“What well behaved children,” said the lady at the front door.

My little cherubs grinned from behind sticky lollipops and we strolled past, a serene picture of happiness – with my empty shopping basket dangling on the handles of the stroller.

More Mother’s Day Offerings

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

My Mother, The Wind Beneath My Wings

Musings of a Visually Impaired Mother