A recent experience has had me wanting to write a blog post but not quite knowing how. It is something I apparently needed a long time to process.
On Valentine's Day, we brought our 5 year old to the eye doctor. We learned that she has an astigmatism that causes her right eye to be weaker than the left and cannot be corrected to 20/20. She needs to wear glasses. Big deal, right?
As we were leaving the appointment, the ophthalmologist assured me for the second time "Her retinas look beautiful."
So, obviously this is not a major issue and I am VERY relieved that her retinas are fine.
So, why have I been sad?
The whole experience of our visit to the eye doctor is almost indescribable. It brought back memories of my childhood eye doctor visits. Sitting in that chair not being able to see much more than the Big E. Guessing what letters were there and feeling like I should be able to do better. Obviously knowing I had no control over it but still feeling inadequate.
How awful and heart wrenching it must have been for my parents!
At my daughter's appointment, I sat there not being able to see what she was supposed to be seeing. So the only way I knew if she was seeing the letters correctly by the doctor's reaction. When she struggled to see, I so badly wished I could help her... The emotional reaction I had no doubt pales in comparison to what my parents felt years ago.
I have never had much sympathy for people whose vision is correctable by glasses. While some might complain about wearing them, I wish it were that easy for me. So, finding out that my child needs glasses should not be a big deal. And it's not. So why does it make me sad?
Is it that my kid is not perfect? Is it that I want to protect her from the teasing she will inevitably experience at some point? Maybe its because, I know she does not like being singled out. Or maybe I have had enough experience with low vision for all of my kids and was hoping they would not have to deal with it.
I don't know.
But, my sadness is definitely overpowered by my relief that there are no signs of Stargardts.
The day after her appointment, she was having a hard time falling asleep and when I checked on her, she asked me why she needed glasses and started to cry. It broke my heart. I guess it's just hard to see your child go through any type of struggle, however small.
When we went to pick out her frames, she instantly selected a purple pair with gems on them. They just so happen to be the pair my husband knew she would go for. He works at the practice where the optical shop is located so he had scoped them out days before.
She was actually kissing the frames that day!
We picked the glasses up this past Friday.
I must say she looks absolutely ridiculously cute in them! She wore them to a birthday party for one of her friends on Saturday. I was so proud of her for choosing to wear them. We had said she could leave them off while at the party (an indoor playground with lots of inflatable slides, structures, opportunities to tumble and fall.) But she wanted to show her friends. She got positive reactions, especially from the other parents! I think this will make wearing them to school on Monday an easier transition for her.
To summarize the complexity of my state of mind lately:
I feel sad that she has to wear glasses.
I feel extremely happy that her retinas look good.
I feel guilty for feeling sad
I feel empathy for those parents out there whose kids have vision like mine
I feel grateful for my amazing parents.
I feel proud of my little girl.
I feel lucky.