A New Way of Seeing the World

Today was another checkup day.  This time for our eyes.  I loaded up the littles and went to our appointment.  I love that the office works with me.  They saw all three of us at basically the same time.  Very helpful.

They did the measuring with the machine followed by the puff of air test for me.  The tech told me they don’t do that one on children under twelve.  I didn’t hear either of my littles complaining about that.

We went back out to the waiting area to wait to be called by the optometrist.  I took a few minutes to look at glasses’ frames on display.  I wasn’t sure if my eyes have changed enough to warrant a new pair, but the frequency that I’ve been applying superglue to my current pair indicated that maybe it might be time to splurge.

Our Princess looked up from her math game and asked across the room, “Mama what are you doing?”  I walked over to where she was sitting.  “I was just looking at frames in case I need to get a new pair.”

“Oh, that’s nice.  I’m going to get a pink pair.  Or a purple pair.  Yes, probably purple.  Look at those right there, Mama”–she pointed–“I really like those.  Don’t you?”

Bless her.  She’s been to the eye doctor a few times before this.  Great eyes.  Perfect vision.  And all she is hoping for is a flaw, a vision problem, so she can get glasses. So she can accessorize.  She’s picked out “her pair” every time we’ve been there.

The doctor called us back.  We went in to the dimly lit room, and he asked Cooter to hop up in the chair.  As Dr. A was raising the chair up, he asked my little guy, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing much.” He replied with a shrug.  And then he smiled impishly.  “Not until Monday anyway.”

I think someone is very excited about his birthday.

His exam was quick and went very well.  Now that he knows his letters, his exam was just like ours and he liked that.  No glasses for him.  He shrugged it off.  He has bigger things to think about.  But Princess looked over at me with a perplexing look.  I could almost hear what she was thinking, that she sure hoped her brother’s good vision wasn’t contagious.

She hopped up in the chair next.  Her exam was identical.  And then the words, “You get an A+.  Your vision is perfect.”  She held it together.  I was proud of her.

And she held it together through my exam as well.  Through hearing that my vision hadn’t changed, which meant I still need glasses. She held it together through the news that the time has indeed come for “bifocals.”

Wait.  What?

Oh, I’m just kidding.  I knew it was coming.  I’ve known it for a few years.  When I first mentioned it way back when, the doctor at the time said I could probably hold off a little longer.  The amount of time my glasses spend dangling off my face so I can read ingredients at the grocery store or look at what I’m crocheting or knitting or the way I have to slide them back and forth so I can focus on something up close–it has only increased in the past year.  It all added up to one thing.

Bifocals.

So it goes.  There’s worst things.  Way worse.  I’m ready.  So much so that when picking out my new frames (I decided these won’t hold up to one more round of supergluing), I was in conversation about traditional bifocals versus the progressive lens, and I decided to go with the traditional.  At least then I’ll know where to look.  I like things to be clearcut and not so uncertain.  But that’s a story for another night.

I was trying on possibilities, and my Princess walked up.  She sighed.  “You’re so lucky Mama.”  She walked away, so dejected it was pitiful.  Bless her again.

I remember that feeling.  I don’t know when I first went to the eye doctor, but when I was in the fifth grade it was announced that I needed glasses.  I won’t lie.  The feeling of joy that welled up within me was huge.  I was thrilled.  I had so hoped to get glasses–I had probably been crossing my fingers.  Made my day.  I was so happy that even though I knew that LP would probably call me “four eyes,” I didn’t even care.  I had already “written” and played out in my mind my retaliatory response before the prescription was completely down on paper.

“Well at least four eyes are better than two.”

Yeah, because that’s effective.  And original.

But I digress.

Yes, I was excited to have them, but that joy was nothing compared to what I felt when I put them on and looked around for the first time.  I could SEE.  I had no idea you were supposed to be able to read words on the billboards.  Or that there were even words at all.  The ride home in the bed of Daddy’s truck was such an awe-filled one.  I remember being amazed at the clarity.

I can understand my Princess’ desire to wear glasses, but I hope one day she will appreciate that she has really been given such a gift.  Good vision.  She didn’t get that from my side of the family.  Mama was very near legally blind at 18, and it was only when her vision starting shifting like mine that she eventually reached the point she could go without glasses sometimes.  (She did try contacts at one point, but after one of the four of us flushed her contacts when we were little, I think she just gave up and went back to glasses.)  Daddy was far-sighted and needed glasses for reading.  I suppose it is possible that my girl will need them one day in the distant future, but for now, I wish she could be thankful.

But apparently she’s not the only one.  I told the doctor that she’d so been hoping.  He laughed kindly and said that he’s had girls from her age on up actually burst into tears when he said, “No glasses.”  He shook his head.  “It’s the age, I guess.”

Oh my.

I wonder how long it will take her to ask for a pair of the plain plastic-lens fake glasses.  And I wonder how long I’ll be able to hold out.  After all, I was nine once too.  I know what that feels like.  Thank goodness I don’t have to decide about all of that today.

But today I did make several decisions.  In a very short period of time.  And I didn’t break down.  Not once.  I said yes to bifocals, yes to the line, and yes to a pair of new frames.  Without consulting Aub, my oldest, who is quite helpful in matters such as these.

In the end, I chose my new glasses all by my big girl self.  (Well, okay, the very sweet tech did help me some.)

My new glasses.  The next time I see them they will have a horizontal line on each lens.  Bring it.

My new glasses. The next time I see them they will have a horizontal line on each lens. Bring it.

I think they are quite fun and whimsical and just right for entering this next phase of life.  Life with a different way of seeing things.  One where I can see things up close and near and dear to me, and the far away and uncertain things will be a little clearer as well.  Bifocals can do all that?  BRING IT.  I’m ready.  It’s time for a new way to see the world.   I can’t wait to put them on when they are ready in a week.  The ten-year old in me is giddy with excitement.  And so is the forty-five year old.  And that’s the best feeling of all.

Seeking Clarity

pic of my glasses

These are my glasses.  The most recent pair in a long line of visual assistance.  They help me see okay, although that is debatable after the incident early yesterday morning where I mistook a soccer ball for a calico cat curled up on my porch.  I think it is finally time for me to move on to the next rendition–bifocals–as these spend more than their fair share of the day hanging off my face so I can see things that are up close.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in fifth grade.  I knew the teasing of “four eyes” was coming, but I didn’t care.  The clarity of my sight with them was amazing.  We went over to my great Aunt’s house over behind the Mercer Law School in Macon after we picked them up.  I was so pleased with them, and then promptly forgot them and left them there.   I wasn’t used to keeping up with them or keeping them on my face yet.  Daddy drove us back up there in his truck.  This was back in the day before all of the transportation laws.  I rode down I-75 sitting in the bed of his truck, amazed at all around me.  My head was turning from right to left and back again.  I could see leaves on the trees.  I could READ the billboards.  I was in awe of all that was around me.

I went through the phase of having the self-tinting glasses.  I thought they were so cool.  Until our class pictures were outside and I was the only one whose eyes couldn’t be seen.  That was a hoot.  And it seemed like they never quite lost the tint even when I was inside.

One evening after I had my glasses for a while, I was out riding our horse Betsy bareback.  I don’t know if it was at my urging or not, but she started galloping back towards the house.  Somewhere along the way, with me bouncing on her back, my glasses bounced right off my face.  I wasn’t able to stop her right away, but I knew about where it happened.  There were just two problems.  It was dusk and hard to see, and without my glasses it was even harder to search.  My folks came out to help but to no avail.  We decided to wait until morning when there would be more light.  I don’t know how we thought I would handle school without my glasses, but we had no other choice than to wait.

Early the next morning, we started searching out in the horse pasture.  Betsy followed us around, curious as to what we were doing out there so early.  The sunlight glistened on the morning dew.  Every twinkle I was hopeful.  But no such luck.  Then I saw it, a reflection that was more than a dewdrop.  My glasses!  There was a tiny crack in the frame, but otherwise they were perfectly fine.  We were so lucky that Betsy hadn’t crushed them on the ride back or during the night.  And that we actually found them–it was pretty much like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Just glasses in a horse pasture instead.

I was thinking about those glasses and that incident tonight.  Isn’t it funny how if you sleep on something and try again in the morning, in the light, things can suddenly seem so much clearer and sometimes you even find what you are seeking?  That kind of clarity–they just can’t put that in frames.  Oh if only.