"Mum?" My son asked me when I paused in between two paragraphs of his favourite book. He laid in his bed beneath his blankets, his face illuminated by the lamp on his bedside table. He fiddled with the teddy he's had since birth; it was beautifully made with pink paws and ash-grey fur that he loved to twiddle around his fingers.
"The book says the flower was yellow. What is yellow?" He spoke softly and sleepily, and he waited quietly as I tried to figure out how to answer his question. How to I describe colour to someone who's been blind since birth? How do I show my son what he can't see?
"Yellow is... well, I suppose you have to see it to really know it." I began, though I regretted each word as it left my mouth; I never wanted him to feel as if he were missing out.
"Oh..." He said sadly, "Mummy, can you tell me what yellow is like?"
"Yellow is like..." I hesitated before each word, trying desperately to explain it.
"Yellow is that feeling where you step out into the sun and you feel the warmth on your skin. It's a colour something can be, but I suppose it's also a way you can feel, it means happy. When you hold mine or Dad's hand, and you feel safe? That's yellow. The flowers in our garden, the ones we use to make daisy chains, the middle of those are yellow, too. I suppose the middle of everyone is yellow too, like a ball of love and happiness just waiting to get out."
He seemed intrigued even as sleep won him over.
"What else is yellow, Mum?" He asked.
"The sun is yellow. Sand is yellow too, and your favourite lemon sherbets. Do you remember our neighbour to the left?"
"Her hair is dyed yellow." It racked my brain for anything yellow, "Oh, the rubber ducks your little sister has in the bath? They're yellow too! So I guess yellow can mean fun as well as happy." I added.
"Is yellow pretty?"
"Yeah, Charlie, it is. It's pretty and delicate, but it can also be strong." I responded.
He closed his eyes and turned on his side to sleep, the lamp light shining through his blonde hair. I sighed and stood to leave, brushing my hand across his bookshelf to find the gap his favourite book fits in. I paused before I put it back in it's place; the book's cover is yellow too.
I turned to tell him, but he was fast asleep. It hit me suddenly that if no-one ever tells him, he won't ever know the colour of one of his most prized possessions. From then on, I resolved to be his eyes, to show to him through words, touch and feelings every colour there is.
I won't let him miss out on sunshine or happiness, or even rubber ducks. Tomorrow, I'll show him red, or purple, though I have a feeling yellow will always be his favourite.ns22.214.171.124da2