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Blind Edmonton dad celebrates first Father’s Day
Published Sunday, June 18, 2017 6:21PM MDT
An Edmonton man celebrating his first Father’s Day is giving a voice to the challenges of being a blind parent.
Keith Rempel created a blog to share his experiences as a blind father to a nine-month-old daughter.
Activities like communicating, reading books, playing, changing and feeding his little girl are more challenging for Rempel.
When he found out his wife Michelle was pregnant, Rempel had a difficulty finding resources to help him prepare for fatherhood.
“I just found a found a few little anecdotes from people about experiences they had being blind parents and I thought I really wish there was more,” Rempel said.
So Rempel decided to start a blog called My dad is blinder than your dad!
“At some point I just kind of thought, ‘well, you know, might as well write it as something maybe other blind people can read if they're in a similar situation to what I was’,” he said.
His posts cover things like first walks and taking up cooking to help his wife Michelle. His writing is honest and often candid – like the time when he poked his daughter in the eye with a spoonful of oatmeal.
But Rempel said the fear of the unknown has been the biggest challenge.
“The diaper changing thing – like the first couple weeks I was so scared of doing it wrong or anything. Now I look back on it, and I’m like, ‘why was I even worried about that?’” he said.
His wife Michelle said it’s been an outlet and a place she hopes will foster connections.
“I’m just hoping they will comment on the blog and just say, ‘hey we're going through this, and I'm just hoping it will build a bit of a community for other blind parents,” Michelle said.
Michelle also said their communication skills make it possible for them to take on this challenge, and even little Cecilia is starting to pick up on things her father does.
“She started clicking,” Michelle said. “That’s something Keith does when he’s walking without his cane, or even with his cane sometimes.”
Keith said he still has a lot more learning to do, especially as his little girl starts to crawl.
“We’ll see how that changes once Cecilia starts walking and deciding it’s a good idea to run away from dad when we’re out at the park or something like that,” he said.