by Ann Rogers Oster
(Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from a speech which was published in Coalition Quarterly. Although it is not about a blind child, I think many parents will find something in it which speaks to them. I did.)
Nick had Chronic lung disease and was on oxygen until he was nearly a year old. He was rehospdtalized several times after his first two and a half months stay in intensive care. One September day when he was just over a year old, he laboriously rolled himself to my dresser and reached up to play with the shiny brass drawer pulL I realized with a start that it was the first thing he had ever done that had reminded me of his sister Bess. Our questions about his development didn't begin to have answers until he was nearly two.
During much of Nick's early life the successes in coping with his problems belonged to professionals. Only the failures were mine. I hadn't had a healthy baby, couldn't seem to get him healthy, couldn't comfort him and, most painful, I didn't feel connected to him. I believed that I wasn't capable of doing hm any good. I would like to read a poem that I wrote about surviving that period in our lives.
Three years old on Tuesday,
think of it.
Two years ago I didn't know that I could
I look at pictures of that year,
and see your smiles,
and wonder how I could have missed them
But we were both so needy that first
you for breath and growth,
I for the healthy son who would reflect
not demonstrate my failure.
I gave you all I had that year,
but numb with fear of doing you more
I had so little.
Yesterday, looking at the pictures of
your big sister
(I think you'd never thought before
that she was once so small),
serious and funny, you turned to me and
" She was little and when she was born,
she was very, very born."
No degrees of being born,
and yet for us there was a kind of
Three years since you were born,
Two since we began
the important part.
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