By, Rebecca of Mommy, Ever After
Last week, we found out that our sweet girl needs glasses.
She is quite farsighted, in fact.
She was having trouble reading her T.S. Elliot Poems at bedtime, so I decided to have her eyes checked.
Oh. You know I’m kidding. She can read Preludes just fine. It’s her daddy’s car magazines that she’s having trouble wading through. I don’t blame her, actually.
In any case, we started to notice her eye turning in,
which happens to be exactly what happened to my mom at 3 years old
and my sister at 2 years old,
so we took her to a wonderful eye doctor and low and behold my baby needs glasses.
This news rocked me.
The rational, sensible, adult part of me accepted it with a smile,
while every other part of me was screaming “No! I don’t want them!”
They’re just glasses. Many people (including many people I love) have them.
But, to me, they’re a (n albeit small) challenge for her. They will, as my best friend said, make life only 1% more difficult for her, but that’s 1% more than I’m comfortable with.
And so, I’m looking inward, mustering up all of my strength, and trying to cope with this situation with a sound mind
and clear eyes.
All four of them.
There’s my one eye,
my scared eye,
that worries for her. Will this make life hard for her? Will she be sad that she can’t just jump in the pool without worrying about being able to see in the water? Will her eyes get worse? Will she feel bad about being the only kid in preschool with glasses on her face? Will she resent her glasses? Will they make her cry? Worse, will other kids make her cry?
And then, there’s my shallow eye.
My eye that sees my daughter, my beautiful, precious little girl, with the most perfect angel face, and the most soulful “Atlantic Ocean eyes” and thick, long black lashes, that will now be covered in a pair of little wire frames. Will the lenses distort her eyes? When people look at her, will they see only glasses? Will she only be known as the girl with the glasses? Will she be “cute, despite” them? Why do I care? Why can’t I get past this?
And then there’s my ashamed eye.
I’m the one who celebrates differences. I am the one who stands up for equality and tolerance. I am the one who preaches about acceptance and beauty that comes from the inside out. And yet, I am the one who is worried about the way my daughter will feel and look and think. I’m the one, who when I am being really, deeply candid, cares what other people will think. I am ashamed to say this, but it is the truth.
And then there’s my grateful eye. The eye that sees, so vividly, how lucky we are. We have a problem that has a solution (as my dear colleague reminded me yesterday). So what. They’re glasses. They will help her to see. We have a great doctor, and wonderful friends, and the resources to buy her whatever glasses she chooses. She has a tiny problem. Her problem has a cure. For that, I feel so very blessed.
Four eyes, all in conflict inside of me, sitting together like a lead weight in my gut as I stare at my little girl, and want only the easiest, most perfect, happy life for her. When I ask my sister, who has been wearing glasses for over 20 years, if she ever felt bad about herself because of her glasses she laughs, and reminds me of how cute she was.
She was known as the girl with the big, red Mickey Mouse glasses,
but also as the girl who woke up whistling because she was so happy,
and who always was surrounded by friends
and was showered with more love than she knew what to do with.
And so, I’m going to try my very best to quiet my worries,
to assuage my anxieties,
and to keep on showering my baby with all of the love that I can muster.
I am going to look into her eyes,
now magnified by her tiny lenses,
and tell her how beautiful she is,
how smart she is,
how everyone who meets her loves her,
and how she makes my heart sing.
How proud of her I am.
How I cherish every part of her,
including all four of her cute, little eyes.
And, I am going to continue to give her as many bites of my Key Lime Pie gelato as she likes.
Yes, from here on out it’s eyes bright, heart light and glass(es) half full.
This is wonderful!! You put into words everything I felt when i found out my 10 month old baby girl needed glasses! Thank you!
Thank you, Crystal!! Your sweetest comment is much appreciated 🙂
ditto for me Rebecca. Your words made me tear up. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Ingrid and Paris x
Oh my god that could have been me writing that my beuatiful angel Zara has her glasses 6 mths now and i felt exactly the same still do some days her daddy and I recently said is it bad to say that she is much prettier without her glasses but then on Monday she had her 1st check up and the doctor has said she has made alot of improvments already in 6 mths wow what a comment to cheer you up and reinforce that by getting her those glasses youa re giving her the best treatment.
It is hard still sometimes Sharon, I agree. I will be honest and say there are still days when I wish with all my heart that Paris didn’t have to wear glasses (or more to the point that she didn’t have any eye issues at all). However, you are right, when you see the improvements, it is a small price to pay. But I think it is still worth acknowledging the fact that it can be and is still hard to accept at times, for me anyway. My little Paris has had glasses since 11 months and she is now three and half and I will admit that in some ways it hasn’t got any easier to accept but it is something you have to come to terms with and just do your absolute best to achieve the best outcome. Paris is known as the gorgeous little girl who wears the glasses, but that’s ok. That is her after all. She is a beautiful, smart, funny little girl, who happens to wear glasses. She is loved by all who meet her and for that I am very grateful. I also honestly believe that having a child with eye issues has made me much more empathetic to others who have much harder health problems to face. It has made me realise just how hard it is for parents to cope with and puts our situation into perspective. I know first hand how traumatic it was for us and how difficult it still is at times, with patching, opthalmologists appointments etc etc but it is very very mild compared to what some parents go through. Sorry this is a long post! 🙂
Oh Ingrid, how beautiful. Thank you for your honesty and kindness
Your tender honesty is so appreciated, thank you!
I sat reading your post nodding and agreeing with every word you said. My beautiful, blue eyed son started wearing glasses in December last year. I went through all if the emotions you described. Intense worry, sadness, guilt, disbelief, grief. I was shattered. I could not believe that this had happened to us. My older two children have perfect vision – surely the opthamologist had made a mistake. I couldnt have made the whole situation more about ME if I tried.
So we went and picked out frames and I cried every day until I went and collected the glasses. I fretted beyond belief about how I was going to get him to wear them. I bought reward charts and lollies and toys – all to aid me in getting him to wear the glasses. Everyone had explained to me that I needed to expect resistance from him (he was only 2 still).
The day arrived. I collected the glasses from the optometrist. I sat and stared at them for a long time. These tiny titanium frames that were going to rock our world.
I put them on my sons face. He looked around a bit. He touched them. I cried. And off he went to play. And he has not ever taken them off except to go to sleep. Because he loves them. Because they have cleared up the world for him. And no one has ever said anything to upset him or I because we love them. We are proud of them. Because they are the difference between my baby enjoying every part of his busy day or muddling through it with blurred eyes.
I don’t know how long he will need to wear them for, maybe until he goes to school where he will just need them for reading. Or maybe he will need them forever. Maybe he will want laser eye surgery, maybe he won’t. Maybe kids will tease him. Bit that’s what we’re here for, to get him through those times.
It’s only glasses. she will love them – and when you see how much she loves them, every doubt and fear you hold will melt away.
This made me cry-thank you for your words…and BRAVERY
Wow, this made me cry, but it’s so nice to see someone out there feeling like I do and dealing with the same issues.
Thank you, Stacy–we’re all in this together!
Beautifully written Lisa and very honest. Thank you Rebecca, I think we do need to be honest with each other. As you said we are in this together and it’s amazing how many of us go through the very same emotions. So wonderful to have the support of others. It also makes me happy to read that although the thought of glasses on our little ones is so hard at the beginning and we have so many fears, mostly when they actually get them, things are not nearly as bad as what we had imagined and children are much more resilient than we think. I find myself often worrying about things to do with Paris’s glasses that never eventuate so I am learing to take one day at a time and so far so good 🙂
Thank you for putting so many of my (and all of our) feelings into such beautiful words, Ingrid. Paris is so lucky to have you. And so are we.
Love this! Absolutely beautiful!
thanks Rebecca, you have really started something here with your beautiful poem 🙂 It is something we can all really relate to xx Thank you.
It’s been so good (and emotional) to read all of these posts. The very day I found out Cam needed glasses I came home and turned straight to the Internet and found little four eyes. Looking back I was definitely in shock that day (and those days and weeks following LOL). I literally did not know anyone who had a child as young as mine who wore glasses. I felt SO alone. Because it all happened so quickly. One day his sight was fine, the next day his left eye started turning in, about a week later I was sitting in the opthamologists office. I can still remember the way she told me he would need to wear glasses full time. It was about as matter of fact as if she was saying “yes, he will need another pair of shoes next time you swing by a shoe shop”. I remember saying something along the lines of “sorry, but from what you just said it sounds like you are saying he needs glasses?????!!!!!!”.. It was that surreal. Looking back I bet she uses that matter of fact tone, almost nonchalant – to deliberately minimalise the enormity of what she is saying. I paid for the appointment and walked out with a script for glasses. I called my husband and mum straight away. They literally did not believe me. It was only my hysterical sobs that convinced them. So I drove home and made a cup of tea and googled something like ” young children glasses” and found little four eyes. I read and read and read. Finding that support (from a distance, I have never contributed) changed my course of thinking and helped prepare me for what was to come.
Whenever I see that a new mum has just found out that her young child needs glasses my heart aches all over again. For them, for me. I agree Ingrid, it is always there.
But as my previous post explained, we have had an overwhelmingly smooth and positive experience with the glasses. When I see his face without glasses it almost doesn’t look like him. And I truly, truly thank whatever powers are out there that if we were to be dealt something difficult to deal with with one of our children —- thank you, thank you, thank you for letting it be this.
Such a mixed bag of emotions. but wonderful to have each other here. So vent away. You are absolutely not alone in this .
I could have written your last post almost word for word so you are not alone! Only difference is you have a much better way of articulating it!! I had pretty much the very same experience. Paris’s big blue eyes were perfect until around 11 months and I started to see her right eye drift outwards a little – only every now and again. Our DR said it was nothing to worry about but I asked for a referral to an opthalmologist anyway. Turns out she is quite short sighted in her right eye only (-5) and perfect in her left and also needed glasses right away. I was exactly the same when the opthalmologist said “Paris is going to need glasses” very nonchalantly. You are right Lisa, I am sure they have to be calm and matter of fact when telling parents the news. I thought I was hearing things! She was not even one! I had all the very same feelings, not my daughter!! I broke down into tears in his office, then called my mum and husband and they also couldn’t believe it. I remember the opthalmologist looking at me and saying “its not the end of the world” but to me it felt like it! I also have two older children with no vision issues and my husband and I don’t wear glasses so it was a complete shock. I felt so guilty thinking it may have been something I did during pregnancy that caused it. Of course it wasn’t. Thank God we have also had a very easy time with the glasses, Paris took to them straight away and it has only got easier as she has grown. I will be completely honest and say that I still wish she didn’t have to wear them, however I am right with you Lisa when you say, coping with something such as this is certainly very low on the list of challenges some parents are faced with and I thank my lucky stars for that too. It has been a roller coaster of emotions for me and hopefully one that will only get easier as the years go on. Thank you to everyone for being so supportive. Lisa, have you put a picture up of your little boy, would love to see him in his cute glasses!
I have joined the Facebook group and will post a pic of him there xx
Most of the kids have specs now a days, because of the use of television and computer, they just addicted to them, and they don’t want to eat healthy food.
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Oh dear. No, that’s not actually true at all, and it’s a very hurtful thing to say, particularly on this blog. I’d appreciate you not spreading that particular piece of misinformation. Most of our children are young enough that there is no way that tv viewing habits or diet could contribute to their vision problems. In fact, the vast majority of children’s vision issues are genetic, or just something that happens with no known cause. Even for older children, television, computer and diet are not correlated to vision problems. There are studies that suggest that children who spend more time outside are less likely to develop nearsightedness, but there is still a huge genetic component to that, and in that study time spent on computers or tvs was not correlated with vision issues.
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I had to read this post after your more current one. I am so not there yet as far as accepting but totally relate to what you have written. And crying. ANd accepting. Little by little every day. Feeling much better about things and SO SO SOOOO thankful for this blog and the fb group. I don’t feel so alone.
But I still cringe when people see her glasses before my beautiful girl. And encouraged by my PO who told me today that she is making HUGE gains and that we are working towards good vision and that she might not have to wear glasses forever. But then again, she might. And really, it is more about me coming to terms with it. I love how you write about your ashamed eye,scared eye, shallow eye…gah! I have all those too. I cannot thank you enough for helping me not feel alone.
Shelly, your comment just brought me to tears. Thank YOU for helping ME not feel alone. It is so hard. We want the best for our children–the easiest, most perfect lives. When anything deviates from our expectations, we can crumble. Your honesty is strong and brave and I am so thankful for you. There are so many layers to this, but know that you are not alone, that your beautiful girl is just that–a beautiful, precious girl who has one fabulous mama! Thank you!
Love this, had to share it in my facebook. Captures everything I was feeling but didn’t have the heart to express. Thank you x
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I see all these responses are from over a year ago. I just read this now for the first time and am crying. This describes everything to a t for me…and probably my husband too! I am so glad we are not alone. I felt guilty feeling the way I do…because it could be so much worse ya know? But I am glad it’s common to feel this wa! So thank you thank you thank you for writing this!
I love this, it describes exactly how I’m feeling. Today we found out that our 18month old has to wear a patch for 14 days then glasses. I know she will be just as beautiful with glasses as she is without
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Thank you so much for writing this blog! I just found out my 18 month old needs glasses. This is just what I needed to read. I’m comforted that there are other people who feel the same way as me.
Of course! I have transferred all of my writing over to my personal blog http://www.mommyeverafter.com and if you search for the term “glasses” in the header you will find so much info from me—about coping and feelings, etc. My son just had to get glasses at a year as well. So I have two bespectacled little ones and they are fantastic. I hope this helps you!