Friday, March 25, 2011

It IS spring, isn't it?

A few of the white tailed deer feasting on leftover cabbage
In this neck of the woods, when a few hundred deer descend on a cabbage field in Berwick scavenging for leftovers from the previous fall's harvest, you know that real spring (not just the date on the calendar) is close. The odds of spring truly arriving in mid-March in the Maritimes are very low. It's not unusual to have snow storms well into April and sometimes even into mid-May. There's no rush to plant a garden, let's put it that way.

Of course, SOME people figure that if it's after the official first day of spring, it really IS spring and certain tasks should be done, regardless of what is really happening outside. For example, to save wear and tear on our winter tires, something that happens if you run them too long on bare pavement, my husband decided to go to the garage and have them taken off today. It's snowing now. Go figure. Then again, the roads have been bare and dry for two weeks so what is one to do?

Roachville Road leading down in to Sussex
At this point, all we can do is wait and hope for warmer, brighter days and the hours of daylight increase minute by minute. And, stay out of the fields. When they thaw it will be boot-sucking swamp season!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"C'mon Papa" - life seen from the other side

My son David discovered Ryan Knighton's book "C'mon Papa" and gave it to me for my birthday last week. He knew that, as the daughter of a blind man, this book would touch the core of my soul - and it did.

As I read Ryan's descriptions of his day to day activities, thoughts, fears and triumphs, I pictured what my Dad must have felt and thought - that had never occurred to me before.

You see, growing up with a blind father means that, in your world, blind is normal. Blind people are normal - they just can't see very well (or, in my Dad's case, can't see at all. 100% in the dark!). In his book, Ryan quoted his wife Tracy saying, "I'm used to blindness, too, you know. It's about as normal in our house as air."

All new parents approach their babies with trepidation. What if I drop him? What if she gets sick and I can't fix the problem?

For the visually impaired, those fears, as cleverly described by Ryan, are magnified a hundred fold.

At their first ultrasound he said he felt "joy by proxy". "I felt happy for Tracy, excited to be a father, proud for the three of us, and cheated of the experience."

In hindsight, how often was my father 'cheated of the experience' or relegated to feeling 'joy by proxy'?

"C'mon Papa" is full of such insights, interspersed with humour that had me laughing out loud while sitting at the kitchen table, tea in one hand, book in the other. The visual image of Ryan and a seven-months-pregnant Tracy "doing the funky chicken" while crossing an icy street had me in hysterics.

Reading this book I laughed. I cried. And, I got to know my own father in a totally different light.

When my Dad passed away I wrote his obituary - the story of a man whose life was well lived because he was so loved by his daughter. Ryan Knighton's book has inspired me to tell more of my Dad's story through the eyes of his growing daughter.

I hope that Tess, Ryan's daughter, grows on to enjoy seeing life from both sides and that Ryan's journey into fatherhood brings him, Tracy and Tess, a lifetime of joy and laughter.

My Dad and me the day I came home from the orphanage. Yes, a 40-year-old blind man and his wife adopted a 4-month-old baby.