Tuesday, February 10, 2015

See the World with Your Heart, Not Your Eyes

When I think about all of the things Madilyn is missing because she is blind, I often consider the bad sights. An animal killed on the side of the road, the worried expression that took over my face when the doctor said she would need a major skull surgery, and the numerous harsh images flashing across the television screen. Perhaps it is some sort of blessing to be sheltered by God and not be subjected to such horrific sights, especially as a child.

On the other hand, maybe she is being cheated by not having all the visual information sighted people take in every waking minute- the information which shapes our minds and is stored in our memories forever only to be pulled out in the future as we reflect on the past, make decisions, and plan our lives.

Either way, the visual images are not in Madilyn's mind. Instead, she has memories of what seem to be mostly sound and speech, even musical notes. She can tell you the title, season, and episode number of every Sesame Street on Netflix. She will remember the sound of you voice years from the day she met you. She can tell you the name of a song within seconds of hearing it, and what note the clank of the glass made as we said, "Cheers!" last New Year's Eve.

Some people have asked me if I could give Madilyn sight today, would I do it? Many may think it's an easy answer. "Yes, of course!" they probably believe. But as her mother, it would be extremely hard for me to say that I wanted to change her. She was given to me without sight, without eyes, from Him. Everything she is today- funny, smart, sweet & loving- is because of everything she has experienced from the day she was born, and even before.

To experience this world without sight is something most of us could never imagine. Having not had to actually make the decision, most of the time I don't feel like it should really be my choice to give her sight, even if it was possible. I think that is something she would need to decide herself when she is older. People may not understand that I believe Madilyn might not want to be different than she is today, with the life she knows. Maybe she is perfectly happy without sight... She most certainly acts that way every day.

But if I could take away her frustrations and the pain she has had to endure through surgeries and doctors poking, I would do it in a New York second. And maybe even those experiences, although not pleasant, have helped shape her as well- it's hard to say for sure. However, I do know that the person I am today, and the beautiful life I live, is because of her. And I thank God every single day.

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