“Daddy, I see two of you.”
There are more than a few ways I could reply to A. when she says this ‘Oh, that’s scary’, ‘Well, and aren’t you lucky’, ‘What’s in your cup this morning?’ or ‘I know A., I just multiplied, and you now have two Daddies. Careful, there may be three someday’, but none of these are said, usually. I simply wet her glasses under the faucet, rub the lenses on my shirt, and hand them back to her. She’s five, and puts her glasses on with a second-nature-ease that rivals breathing.
A. has worn glasses since she was 1 1/2 years old, which isn’t all that abnormal, it seems that there are more kids with glasses then when I was in school. Actually, it appears that there are more kids with more of everything now, or, perhaps we are diagnosing “things” at a younger age, techniques for testing kids have gotten better, or rather than accepting your sons nickname is “squinty-eyed Jack”, you take him to a children’s ophthalmologist, where he becomes “four-eyed Jack”.
It is now three years later and we are used to A.’s glasses, but when we first noticed, years ago, strikingly, that her left eye didn’t have strength, and we couldn’t deny that something was wrong, the thoughts that raced through our minds were many, and narrowly rational.
I will never forget leaving work early to go to her first eye appointment. It had been a week since we noticed her eye turning in; we had no idea what was wrong, and, quite frankly, we were scared. As I made my way to the doctor’s office my thoughts raced; I had her blind at the age of four, I envisioned her touching my face to know what I looked like, feeling the floor to connect with music, feeling sad that she would have obstacles to overcome that I didn’t know how to relate to, and I wondered how I would share the world I ‘see’ with her.
I understand, there are many children who are born blind, lose their eyesight early on in life, or struggle with a wide range of problems that affect their sight. I also recognize that ‘things could always be worse’, and they could, but our realities and what we envision our future to be, is ours, these were my selfish-worried-parent thoughts.
It turns out that A. is extremely far-sighted, the muscles in her left eye will strengthen over time, and she looks darn cute in her glasses. So says Dad. We are grateful for how things developed.
My Papa Sense tells me:
Our minds wander, we drift to places that will never exist, places that will never be seen, and this fascinates me. Not because we think about more possibilities than we will encounter, but that we adjust to what we see when “it” actually happens. We would have adjusted to any of the outcomes I daydreamed about on my way to her appointment, when faced with them in reality. Yes, some would have been more difficult than others, but we would have found a new reality that was as, or more, beautiful as our last.
We must prepare ourselves for outcomes, but we can’t be trapped by what we think we might see. It’s a testament to us, humans, you know, the ones we are typically skeptical of, as to how we adjust, find strength, and learn to understand and appreciate our kids no matter what, or who, they are. The “I couldn’t even imagines” turn into our every day lives, and we grow and change to adapt to, well, to life.
Another positive on this dreary Tuesday: as our way of viewing the world changes, we gain a greater appreciation for those who embraced tough realities before us, and we all get a little closer.