Posted in Family

“I Can See Clearly Now…”

eyeglasses
WE can see clearly now! New glasses for Mommy & Elena Grace

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone; I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind–it’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day!”  ~Bob Marley, I Can See Clearly

Just before my kids’ birthdays last month, my Ex dropped them off with a note that Elena Grace had just had her annual eye check-up, and that he’s been having to scold her about holding her books too close to her face, so I should make sure to do the same. That struck me as a strange set of instructions.

In my experience, when people  are holding reading materials in odd places, it’s often because they’re having trouble seeing them. So I started asking questions on our drive home from karate practice, launching the topic with the observation that I’ve been having difficulty seeing street signs ahead (I actually did have to ask my son Christian what street we were coming up on–his eyes are still sharp) and that it’s obviously time for an eye exam for me.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was almost exactly the same age Elena Grace is now, and I remember the absolute awe with which I discovered that I could see individually defined leaves on each tree.  Until that afternoon, I didn’t realize I was supposed to be able to see more than a green blob at the top of every tree trunk. I was in glasses and contacts for the next couple decades–bifocals by the age of twenty, and by almost-thirty I couldn’t see anything in any range without my glasses.

pirate with owl
Pirate Christian (with eyes like a hawk) and his birthday Owl

That’s when I had Lasik surgery, and wow, what a life-changer!  Being able to SEE the bedside clock in the middle of the night, or the kids at the pool, or the stars when we were camping out… Wow.  Everything from backpacking and scuba diving to middle-of-the-night nursing was suddenly simpler because I didn’t need to mess with glasses or contacts–or navigate through the world-in-blur when I was without them.

Today, nearly ten years post-surgery, my eyesight is still far better than it was even at age eight, let alone twenty-eight… but I have noticed I’m having to strain to focus on things at a distance, and even the computer screen hasn’t seemed quite as sharp as I know it should be.  I’m happy to say I can function without the glasses–so I won’t be messing with them on camping trips and the like–but it was definitely time to get a pair again. And in the course of that driving-conversation with the kiddos, it became pretty clear that it’s time for Elena to get some as well.

She’s been having to get out of her seat in school to read math problems on the board.  Enough said!

Interestingly enough, both kids were quite certain that Dad wouldn’t take her for glasses, having just “used up” the eye exam for which his insurance pays, and having elected already not to get glasses for her. (And whether or not it’s true, I find it interesting that they both think that of him. For the record, they volunteered the opinion; I didn’t plant the seed of doubt by asking.)

pirates & cupcake-cones on the double-birthday weekend...

For my part, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t take kindly to a suggestion from me on the topic; he’d take it as a critique of his parenting, and he’d consequently be invested in proving she didn’t need glasses–which wouldn’t be any help to her.  So I asked if she would like to go have her eyes checked with me.

Her answer?  “Oh YES!  That would be the PERFECT birthday present!”  She was quiet for the last few minutes of the drive–a rare circumstance–but as we pulled up to our trailer she piped up with this: “You know, Daddy’s house has more money–but this house has more caring.” (Once upon a time, I might have thought I’d feel a little bit of triumph in such a moment–but now I’m here to tell you there’s nothing but heartbreak in hearing my Little One feel that way.)

So… For their birthdays Keoni baked cupcakes in ice-cream cones, we gave Christian his owl, and Elena Grace and I went to the vision center at WalMart to get fitted for glasses. Because–surprise, surprise!–she does need them.

And–surprise, surprise!–her father was displeased.  She’s positively thrilled herself, listing off all the things she can SEE now–including, importantly, the board in her classroom.  The Ex, however, emailed me that night to say he “doesn’t appreciate being accused of being an unobservant parent.” Which is interesting because the only thing I’d SAID was that she couldn’t see the board in school.  But it’s true I’d been THINKING it.  I’d been thinking that the kids are with him the majority of the time, and it’s ironic that the “weekend parents” are the ones who notice that Elena needs glasses, or that Christian has developed a lactose intolerance, or that her so-called “acne” is actually a staph infection, or that he’s struggling with anxiety issues, or…  Well, that we notice the kids.

Unfortunately, what the Ex is likely to take away from this is not the idea that he might do well to pay more attention to his kids, but that I’m a bitch who made him “look bad.”  It’s just how he sees the world–through a “Victim” set of spectacles–and that’s been true for years.

eyeglasses case
Elena Grace decided my glasses-case needed some "bling"...

And while I’m tempted to pray that God might fit him with a new pair of glasses (metaphorically speaking), my A.A. Sponsor reminds me regularly that I can’t change other people.  Her prayer-prescription for an Ex-Spouse is this:  Bless him. Change me.”

So I’m reminded that my job is to focus on sharpening MY vision. And after all, it’s looking like a pretty sunshiny day.  Just ask that cute kid in the new pair of glasses.

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Author:

I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

22 thoughts on ““I Can See Clearly Now…”

  1. Please tell Elena Grace she looks most attractive in her new glasses. I was eight years old when I discovered trees have leaves. I walked up and down our block just wallowing in the unexpected clarity. When I was in my thirties, an ophthalmologist told me, “I never mind leaving you in the examining room by yourself, because I know you’ll never find the door.” I’m twelve years past LASIK now and need a bit of correction for distance vision, but I don’t mind, because I can still find the door.

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    1. I have a hunch that we have Harry Potter to thank for the fact that she had NO reservations about wearing glasses… HP made specs cool ;)

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  2. Yes HP did make glasses cool – thank goodness for the world!!

    As to your ex. Ah I’d love to use my newly honed nlp skills on him…… I’m looking for guinea pigs – he seems an ideal candidate!!

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  3. I remember when we discovered our daughter needed glasses: 1 week before she was off to college! I asked her what time it was & she couldn’t read it off of the tv, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t figured it out! When she tried them on at the eye doctor’s she said “Oh wow, I can read that clock!” We never discovered it, partly because she was such an introvert and also an A student. We got her set up just in time before she left for Oklahoma. She looked just as beautiful as elena Grace.

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  4. I love that “Bless the, change me.” Great little prayer.

    I’ve had cataract surgery in both eyes and the difference in pre and post-op vision is extra ordinary. The doctors gave the the gift of vision.

    The Kindle gave me the gift of reading. :-)

    Great post! (P.S. It’s good to see you writing)

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  5. Happy Easter Kana! Your daughter looks adorable and so do you :)

    I am here to formally invite you to be a part of The Uninspired Chronicles. It is a small project that I started to get other blogs involved. It can also help to inspire others to write and to help them overcome their creative funk!

    It’d be an honor if you took part :) Here is the link to the post including the details! http://riatarded.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-uninspired-chronicles/

    x

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  6. Oh, Elena looks darling in her glasses! And personally I think it’s hard to learn and relearn that we can’t change others. For some reason that’s a tough one for me. Sounds like you are a wonderful mom!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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  7. You both look adorable in your glasses..! Just laughing at my ownself right now. Sometimes i pretend i do not need them, resulting to me leaving out letters or reading them wrong..

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  8. I’m glad to hear that she got new glasses! She’ll get to see the world in a new light now that she can actually see it. :-)

    I got my first pair of glasses when I was in middle school, and I’ve never felt fully comfortable and confident in glasses (I feel glasses make me look geeky) and prefer contacts. I’m too chicken to get LASIK or PRK.

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  9. Kana – awesome post. Good for you being there for your little girl like that and praise God that her eyes are open enough to see the difference in ‘caring’ and ‘doing.’ Sounds like good recovery all around. Yay! I also particularly like the piece at the end where you share the prayer for the ex-spouse. It’s a generous thing to do and it’s good for you psyche too. I have forgiven my ex but I gotta say, I still don’t like him or his lifestyle and this daily prayer keep me centered on the bigger things that God is doing rather than the ‘little’ things I’d like to do (which may or may not include arguing, bickering, and slandering.) Kudos, you rock, Kana.

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  10. Your daughter is beautiful and I love her new glasses. Your son is very handsome. You are a very lucky lady. I’m also rooting for you and your ex to be on the same page or at least in the same book. You both have much to gain and your children have everything to gain. You have a very wise counselor and seem like a very wise lady.

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  11. Your daughter looks smashing in her glasses. Getting glasses isn’t the worst thing in the world but being able to see IS the BEST. I was eight when I got glasses and a happier kid you have never seen.

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  12. What a completely backwards attitude from the ex. Though I suppose one can hardly expect less. *sigh*
    Well your adorable little girl looks FANTASTIC in her glasses and, more importantly, there will be no more hopping up and down in class to read the board. She can concentrate on learning, which, of course, is so much more important.
    :)

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