Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Working Miracles

One beautiful evening right before school got out in May, I headed out the front door with my three littlest kids for a quick walk. Kids were clambering around, on skateboards and in wagons, and I waited for my little ducks to get in a row.

Our neighborhood isn't especially crowded with walkers, so when two young men approached us, arm in arm, my kids stopped. These clean-cut boys in their late teens each carried something in their free hand--one held a clipboard, and the other held a long white cane with a red stripe and large rubber tip. The young man with the cane politely began asking me questions for a political survey, and while he spoke, my kids quietly observed his face.

After thanking me for my time, the young men proceeded down the sidewalk, but my kids followed them with their eyes. Before they were out of earshot, Eve broke the silence and asked, "Mommy, why are his eyes white?"

An innocent question from an innocent child who knew nothing about what it means to be blind.

Loudly enough for our visitors to hear, I explained to my naive little ones what it means to be blind, and why blind people carry canes. Our walk that night was peppered with dozens of questions about blindness--how blind people can't see the sun setting around us or the cat crossing the street.

As all good discussions do, one question led to another, and before I realized it, the conversation turned to Louis Braille (the inventor of the Braille alphabet) and Helen Keller. How hard they had to work to conquer their disabilities. What it would be like to be blind, or blind and deaf. It was the most fascinating talk I've ever had with my little kids.

When we got home, I gathered them around the computer. We read about Braille and tried to read his alphabet and watched videos of Helen Keller speaking.

A few days later, I discovered that the Hale Theatre was presenting "The Miracle Worker" for the summer, and I immediately bought tickets for me and Micah and Hyrum.

All the way to the theatre we talked about disabilities and what we would be seeing in the play (I was Anne Sullivan when I was in ninth grade--one of my favorite memories ever).

 I was surprised to see that most of the audience was older couples, and I wondered if my boys would be rambunctious and distracting. I shouldn't have worried. My two little boys sat mesmerized as they watched a young girl change from unruly and unreachable to inquiring and teachable. Occasionally during the performance, they would whisper questions to me, and I would clarify what they were seeing.
On the drive home, we continued to talk. I asked what was the best part of the show.

Micah didn't hesitate. "I really liked the show, but the very best part is going on a date with my mom." Hyrum, who we both thought was asleep, piped up, "Yeah. That was the best part of all."

It's funny how it takes so little to make them so happy.

And even funnier how I have to be reminded over and over that all they really need from me is my attention to know I love them.


  1. It's the best blog ever! Micah Denton

  2. I loved this play! My husband and I went to see it last weekend!

    Except for the car being roasting when we came out it was a perfect time!

    Some of those characters were exactly as I'd imagined in the book I read long, long ago!

  3. I loved the book and must have read it dozens of times.
    What a great experience for your boys.

  4. Such a great idea! I love how the walk turned into such an opportunity for so much more. Think of all you would have missed had you simply turned on Harry Potter! But my favorite is Micah's comment above ^^^. That really says everything.