C is for Choice

obstacle

I asked my husband to creat me an image from his website TheSeedProject.net for my, “C is for Choice,” blog, and this is the image he emailed me.  At first, I thought, “Wow I love the words, but a few leaves don’t look like much of an obstacle.”  I asked him why didn’t he choose something more, “Obstacle or Opportunity,”ish like a trail or a mountain.  That’s when I discovered that I was only seeing the leaves, and not where they were coming from.

This was a photo from our trip to the California Redwood Forest last summer.  A Giant Redwood had fallen on it’s side, cut at a straight horizontal angle, and it’s face had been completely charred during a fire.  From this fallen, chopped, and charred tree spring life in the form of these little fern leaves.

Merriam Webster defines, “Choice,” as

the act of choosing : the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities

the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision

a range of things that can be chosen

As a parent, I often feel like my choice is worth more now than ever.  Every single decision I choose not only effects me, it also effects my children.  Whether we realize it or not, those choices big or small might possibly be the defining moments that shape your child or stick with them into adulthood.

It has been almost exactly a year since Marley was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy.  I wrote all about it in my, “Marley and Me Musical Chairs,” post.  Once upon a time not to long ago, I felt angry, guilt, grief, and fear.  I was so incredibly afraid of the challenges my daughter would face in life.  I was afraid that, like her mommy, she would be bullied by the mean kids in school, afraid that she would be ashamed of who she was, afraid that she would fall through the cracks in the educational system, and worst of all I was afraid that she would blame me for her blindness.

What does being afraid get you?

Nothing.  Fear only brings more fear.

I chose to shift my fear into a fierce passion for a future full of endless opportunities.

Last November, I and a few other parents, organized the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children. My vision for this organization is to reach every single parent of a blind or visually impaired child in Nevada.  As human beings we thrive when we connect with other human beings.  Blindness can be a scary thing.  Blindness can be a life changer.  However, blindness can also be empowering and powerful.

If we as parents choose to fear blindness, than our children will too fear blindness.  Instead of fearing blindness, I choose to embrace it.  When I hold my long white cane, I feel confident.  I feel as if nothing can stop me if I have my can with me.

Marley has even begun to acknowledge her feelings.  The other night while cuddling in bed after we’d read a few pages from her Braille copy of , “Amelia Bedelia,” she whispered that she felt nervous about using her cane, especially if I wasn’t there with her using mine.  This was after a long four day weekend where both my husband and I had been busy in classes and my mother in law was flown in to stay with the kids.  She didn’t want to look different or want to have people look at her.  I told her it was ok to feel nervous, but we needed to figure out a way to turn that nervous feeling  into a powerful feeling.  We talked about all of the fun times we’ve had while using her cane like on our hikes, our camping trips, and decorating it and taking it trick-or-treating on Halloween.  We also talked about the times she tripped and fell because she didn’t have her cane with her.  So instead of feeling nervous about anymore, she chooses to feel happy, safe, and powerful when she has it.

Two days later, a classmate shared the following video on Facebook and I knew it would be the perfect end cap to this blog.  It’s taken me almost a week to finally dedicate a few uninterrupted moments in posting, “C is for Choice.”

Until I write again, let’s all choose to make it a powerful week!

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Choose to Be Happy

Smiley face pancakes with blueberry eyes and strawberry lips for Marley and Jackson

Smiley face pancakes with blueberry eyes and strawberry lips for Marley and Jackson

Life is about choices.  From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night, we are faced with hundreds of thousands of choices.  What to wear, what to eat, coffee or tea, and that’s just the first few.  How about choosing how to feel?

Have you ever considered that choosing how you feel could be something you have complete control of?  This is a concept we are working with our children on.  We choose to be happy.  Nothing is strong enough to keep us down.  There may be bumps and bruises that cause us to cry from the initial pain, but in order to move on we choose to get back up again with a smile, laugh, and learn what could have prevented those tears.

Last weekend, I chose to commit myself to myself.  That was not a typo.  I registered and made the first move in fully committing to creating a better me.  Come January 15th I will begin this journey through an intensive self discovery and leadership program that focuses on emotional intelligence.  Hundreds of people travel from all over the country, and the world, to participate in this program.  I fortunately only need to travel about 20 minutes from my front door.  I’ve observed the break through and changes my husband has gone through, and am both nervous and excited to experience my own.

I teased him the other day that he was using words from the program on me.  Our Friday afternoon was a hectic one.  The morning had flown by.  It was noon and we had an hour to get out the door.  That didn’t happen of course.  After scrambling to finish my blog for Halloween, him scrambling to finish commitments he’d started on that morning, we were finally ready to leave.  ?The kids were strapped in the car.  We went over our check list of must haves before driving away and realized we didn’t have Marley’s cane.  The next half hour was spent searching every closet, corner, in and under every bed and couch, combed every inch of the backyard, and couldn’t find it anywhere.  Marley couldn’t remember where she’d put it, and I let my frustrations of me overcommitting to too many events in too short of time come out in this one predicament.  Hubby caught me snapping at Marley, and said, “Back off of Marley.  This is our breakdown.  We shouldn’t take it out on her.”

He was right.

I sulked, sighed, and chose to change my mood.  We got back in the car, and we headed off to our first event for the day.  Even though Marley didn’t have her cane with her.  It was still a successful play date.  We met little Dillon and his parents, all three of whom are blind.  Dillon’s mom and I had arranged the play date so that Marley could show Dillon her cane.  He had recently been given his first cane and doesn’t want to use it.  We met them at their house, and all walked to the park together.  Marley and Jackson showed Dillon’s mom their Halloween costumes by what we call, “Seeing with our hands.”  Jackson was excited to see Dillon’s dad had a cane too since his Daddy doesn’t have one.  Fun was had by all as the kids ran, swung, climbed, hid, and slid, and us grown ups bounced ideas around and made plans for future outings together.

Like I tell my children when they are upset, let’s make a choice on how we will feel for the rest of the day.  Let’s choose to feel happy.

Now, go out and make it a Happy day!

Need a little help on getting started?  Go to www.24hoursofhappy.com for an instant boost.

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