There are many things I think about for the future on a daily basis. Like, retirement. Every time I see a financial planning commercial or story on the web, I think to myself, "Man, I gotta increase contributions and invest more to make sure that Clint and I aren't eating canned meat every night after we retire!" (Who knows? Spam may be a hot commodity in 2046, which would mean something if I actually get to retire at 65. HA!) The same goes for recycling. Every time I throw a plastic bottle away, I think about sea gulls and landfills and tell myself, "One of these days, we're going to recycle." (If only the City of Tulsa provided a much better service for this sort of thing. Every other week pickup? Seriously? Like I want a house full of glass, plastic and paper. Ahem, Mayor Bartlett! I know you're reading...not really, but you should be. This. Is. Riveting.)
However, there is one thing that I feel a much greater sense of urgency about. With Pumpkin Pie entering the world 4 months earlier than expected, we have faced some issues, but nothing compared to what we could have faced, and so I really feel like I have little to complain about with his lot in life. But in reality, there is one thing that is always in the back of my mind. And with a recent visit to the ophthalmologist, it has come screeching to the front of all my other thoughts. Every time Pumpkin Pie goes to visit his eye doctor, his vision is worse. For awhile, we were able to get by on the same lenses, but his most recent visit, after a big growth spurt, showed a significant decrease in his sight.
So, you see, my sense of urgency is over something quite unique. Barring some huge miracle (and believe me, we're praying) or technological advance, my son will be blind almost certainly by the time he reaches adulthood, which raises a few questions for me.
How do I give him life experiences now that will be visually appealing enough to make up for whatever experiences he isn't going to be able to see in the future?
I feel the urge to make a list of places and events, and take him there as soon as I can, no matter the cost. Disney World is at the top. I'm working very hard on making this happen in the next 12 months. I am motivated by the thought of watching his face light up when he sees Mickey Mouse up close for the first time, so no matter what I have to do, I will make this happen. But what after that? He's 5 years old. There are things I can think about that I would like to see, like the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, New York City, Mount Rushmore, etc, but right now, he probably won't care about any of those things. I want him to look back on his childhood and remember seeing some of the greatest sights in the world.
What is he going to do, professionally?
We won't let him just sit at home. He will attend college. He will get a job. But what job? I have searched the web for careers for people who are blind. There are a lot of customer service type positions. There are heartwarming tales about piano tuners and bicycle repairmen. But there are also accompanying miserable stories, such as being taken advantage of by people who tell you they are giving you five $20 bills when really they are giving you five $1 bills. Because we will make sure he gets a good education, I can only hope that he will be able to do something fulfilling. But what? One job that keeps coming up is lawyer. And of course, I can't think about my son's future career without thinking of him taking a similar career path to that of David Paterson (minus the extramarital affairs) Governor Pumpkin Pie has quite a ring to it. Amiright? Right now he wants to be a fireman, and of course I can't break it to him that he most likely won't be able to do that. He also wants to play football, but he has limited peripheral vision, and if he were to get hit really hard, the possibility that his retina could detach is very high. For now, he is content, and doesn't demand a lot of explanation, but the thought of telling him that he can't do something breaks my heart.
Of course, these questions also lead to more questions, like "who will take care of him when Clint and I are gone?" and "will he ever be able to get married?" I want his life to be as normal as possible. I know I'm getting ahead of myself (I mean, he is only 5), and I shouldn't be thinking about tomorrow because tomorrow is God's and whatever He has in store for us all will be part of His plan. And the more I think about living every moment to the fullest today for fear of what he won't be able to see in the future, the more I think, "Shouldn't we be living like this anyway?" Anything could happen tomorrow. Accidents and freak medical occurrences come out of nowhere all the time. I can't live life as though there's a timer about to expire and I can't be on a quest for the perfect childhood all the time, but I will strive for a happy existence, for myself and Clint and for the boys. I want all of my boys to not feel like they missed out on anything, especially hugs, kisses, laughter, smiles, love, patience, understanding, acceptance, and support.