Braille Monitor                                     May 2017

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Blindness: Showing Up for Parenthood

by Noel Nightingale

Jim Peterson and Noel NightingaleFrom the Editor: Noel Nightingale is the mother of three children who resides in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Jim Peterson. She first met the Federation when she won a national scholarship in 1991. Her work in the Federation has included service as a chapter president, a state president, and as a member of the national board of directors. By training she is a lawyer who currently works for the United States Department of Education in the Office for Civil Rights. She currently serves as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Blind Lawyers, a division of the NFB. Here is what she has to say about deciding to become a parent and the challenges it has posed in her life:

Becoming a parent was significantly harder than becoming blind. When I became blind, other blind people taught me that I just had to acquire the skills and attitudes I needed to live well as a blind person. I already knew basic life skills as a sighted person, and I merely needed to tweak a few things such as: learning to use a long white cane; learning Braille; learning how to use various assistive technologies; and, hardest of all, truly believing that I could still do the things I wanted to do without limitations. Of course, I now knew about being discriminated against as well.

The most dramatic challenge that came with parenthood was that I had to change my perspective and priorities. I realized that neither Jim nor I came first anymore, and I sacrificed many of the things I enjoyed doing to spend time with my children. Like the rewards of having children, it is difficult to describe how the mundane aspects of parenting rule our lives. I trained myself not to use profanity anymore lest I inadvertently do it in front of the kids. Along with Jim, I adjusted my schedule around my children’s schedules, and I learned that my children’s homework was also my homework because if Jim and I didn’t nag the kids to do it or didn’t help, it may very well not get done. The list goes on and on of the seemingly boring yet enormously important and trying things we now spend time on to even reach the low bar of being adequate parents.

Leave a Legacy

For more than seventy-five years the National Federation of the Blind has worked to transform the dreams of hundreds of thousands of blind people into reality, and with your support we will continue to do so for decades to come. We sincerely hope you will plan to be a part of our enduring movement by adding the National Federation of the Blind as a partial beneficiary in your will. A gift to the National Federation of the Blind in your will is more than just a charitable, tax-deductible donation. It is a way to join in the work to help blind people live the lives we want that leaves a lasting imprint on the lives of thousands of blind children and adults.

With your help, the NFB will continue to:

Plan to Leave a Legacy

Creating a will gives you the final say in what happens to your possessions and is the only way to be sure that your remaining assets are distributed according to your passions and beliefs. Many people fear creating a will or believe it’s not necessary until they are much older. Others think that it’s expensive and confusing. However, it is one of the most important things you will do, and with new online legal programs it is easier and cheaper than ever before. If you do decide to create or revise your will, consider the National Federation of the Blind as a partial beneficiary. Visit https://nfb.org/planned-giving or call (410) 659-9314, extension 2422, for more information. Together with love, hope, determination, and your support, we will continue to transform dreams into reality.

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