Celebrating Our Mothers on Mother’s Day, No Matter the Distance

This is an especially bittersweet Mother’s Day while social distancing is still in effect. The VisionAware Peers share warm thoughts of mothers and celebrate their meaning in our lives, across the miles, the years, or just six feet away!

Flowering My Children on Mother’s Day

At this time of uncertainty, while we stay home to keep our loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating Mother’s Day will be another opportunity to get creative in how we reach out to our mothers. So, I did something different this year.

Instead of waiting for my children to shower me with their love and phone calls, I sent my daughters flower bulbs for their gardens, which I bought online. The online garden store packaged them up and, without having to leave my home, my daughters will receive a surprise for their Mother’s Day.

Sharing my love of gardening with my family, even from a distance, helps me feel connected. From my heart to theirs, from my garden to theirs, when those colorful bulbs begin to spring forth in the coming season, mother earth will continue to keep us connected, no matter the distance.

Gift a Singing Telegram for Mother’s Day

Amy Bovaird shared this novel gift idea for our special Moms. The National Federation of the Blind Performing Arts Division is offering a singing telegram service for only $5.00. The Division is also offering the same service for graduation and for Father’s Day! Questions? Email them for additional information. You must order your telegram by May 8.

Honoring A Mother’s Wisdom

by Sandra Burgess

My mom and dad met singing in a church choir. For Mom, it was the church she attended during her childhood and young adulthood. For my dad, it was the church that paid him for his expertise as a tenor soloist. On their first date, Dad told Mom she was the girl he would marry, and she laughed. However, after six months, they married and, forgetting the receiving line, my mom ran out of the church yelling, “I did it!”

I was born blind during the 1950s.  My parents were encouraged to contact a pediatrician who was experienced in the field of blind children, as he had seen some at Yale New Haven Hospital and read books on the subject. This man gave my parents advice such as, “Don’t put her in a baby swing because it will upset her” and “She can’t play with furry toys because they will frighten her.” When I began to walk, he instructed my mother to tie rope around the house for me to follow. My mom stated that she would be the one tripping over the rope. Fortunately for me, my mom knew one blind person who happened to be quite independent. The woman vacationed at a summer YMCA camp where my mom worked. The woman walked through the campground on her own, darned her socks in the darkness of the cabin and worked as a proofreader of Braille for the American Red Cross. My mother disregarded everything the doctor said and resolved to raise me “like a normal child” so I would grow up as independent as the one blind person she remembered.

My Education

While my dad wanted me to go to a residential school for the blind, my mom wanted me to attend a school in my neighborhood, which I did until seventh grade. In seventh grade, I began to study and live at Perkins School for the Blind, where I graduated in 1969. At Perkins, I could engage in activities, such as physical education, that public school did not know how to adapt for my situation.

In March of first grade, my school system hired a woman who taught me Braille an hour per day. Some of the textbooks I needed in public school were obtained from the American Printing House for the Blind, while others were not available. My mom learned Braille from a blind woman who was a vision teacher for our state. Getting up at 5:00 AM, mom used a slate and stylus to Braille by hand what I needed for the coming school day. Later she acquired the skill of using a braillewriter, the equivalent of a typewriter, to produce what I needed. Without that dedication, I would not have succeeded academically.

I am forever grateful for my mom’s perseverance to advocate for me and for her belief in me based on one blind person she happened to meet at summer camp. Thank you, Mom.