Depending on how long you have been hanging around here in the land of mom, you may know that I have written extensively about the fact that both of my children wear glasses, and they have since they were each one year old.
In case you are new, or you need a refresher, let me get you up to speed.
When I first started blogging, I wrote several posts for a site called “Little Four Eyes”. On there I wrote about my journey, in real time, as I went through stages of acceptance.
Now, stop. Please.
I have said this in EVERY article that I have written about my bespectacled children and I want you to read this carefully:
My children wear glasses, and for that I feel lucky. Do they cause some problems for us? Sure. But, if my kids have to have a “thing”, I feel SO grateful that this is theirs. They have a problem (accommodative esotropia/extreme farsightedness) for which there is a solution, and it is a relatively easy one. I am not comparing glasses to any other ailments, nor would I ever want to. But I am telling you our truth. And I am completely sensitive to yours.
Now, back to the story. In the early days of my daughter’s glasses-wearing I wrote a lot of posts about the experience, including
and many more. I talk about my own guilt, fear, doubt, shame, anxiety, pride and hope. I talk about other people, and how, at times, they can be foolish, and how, at other times, they can even be mean.
I wrote when we found out that my son needed glasses, as well and also when he was called out for wearing them, which prompted me to give myself a “Time Out”.
And then, I had a chance to spread the word to an even greater audience. I had a piece picked up by Scary Mommy, entitled, “When Your Baby Needs Glasses”.
I thought that I was educating people about sensitivity, compassion and perspective.
Instead, I seem to have brought out all of the haters. It is actually kind of amazing, but having written this blog for nearly SEVEN years, I have never received ONE negative comment on my posts. Not one.
I write about extremely sensitive, sometimes controversial topics, and yet I have never received negativity. Do I sometimes get an “eat a cheeseburger” reply? I do. But I understand that those comments come from concern and care. They are not mean spirited. When I wrote for Scary Mommy, however, I got skewered. I was told that I did not know what real problems were. Clearly these people missed my message. And so, I wrote the follow up piece below:
I haven’t written much about my kids’ glasses lately, except for the fact that my son seems to lose his so often that he is going to bankrupt me one tiny pair at a time. And, while we are on that subject, why is it that he can hold onto a tiny Batman lego for MONTHS, but seems to have a gift for losing the one expensive, important item with which we entrust him?
Anyway, glasses. They are just a part of our existence. They get worn. They get lost. They get broken. They get cleaned. They get praised.
Yes. Quite often they get complimented.
I am sure that you think that this is a lovely thing. It is, in many ways. But it also makes them a thing.
And so, as my daughter and I were just hanging out, having fun with the Snapchat filters on her dad’s phone, I noticed that she was taking off her glasses to pose for pictures.
“Why are your glasses off?” I asked.
“Because I look prettier without them,” she said, without pause.
There are no words to describe how it feels to hear that.
I started to object and to extoll her many virtues, but then I had a better idea. I wanted to give her a voice.
“Hey,” I started. “Do you want to write your own blog post?” I asked.
And so, I welcome for you, my favorite guest blogger ever: my daughter.
I will just preface this piece by saying two things:
1. Not only do I want to publish this post to give my daughter a way to express herself, but I also wanted her to write something–from the perspective of someone who actually feels the way that she does–with the hopes that perhaps her words could help to make someone else feel less “different”
2. I want to help other people to understand. I want to explain that when you say, “Oh my, I LOVE your glasses! They are so cool!” when you meet her, we appreciate the compliment, but it also draws attention to something that perhaps we do not want to be the focus. Maybe, next time, it can be, “I love what you just said!” or “You have a gorgeous smile!
(In the photo above she removed her specs. I love it and it hurts my heart at the same time.)
So, without further ado, here is the unedited, unfiltered account, by my daughter, about what it is like to have glasses. And just to be clear, I did not change a word of what she wrote; I just let her dictate her message to me and kept her voice–her words–completely in tact. She is far more wise than I am, anyway.
From Our Guest Blogger:
I don’t remember what it was like before I had glasses. I can’t remember the first time that I noticed them because they were always a part of my life.
Sometimes, having glasses is hard. Other kids say that they like me more without my glasses. They say I look cuter without my glasses.
(Mommy Break. I had to. “You know that that’s not true. You are gorgeous and it doesn’t change how you look!”
She continued, gracefully and emphatically.)
I don’t really want to be seen with my glasses, sometimes. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have them.
Here are are some reasons why having glasses is hard:
1. I can’t just fall asleep. I can’t just read until I am really tired. I have to put my glasses on my night table.
2. I can’t just jump in the pool. I need special goggles that have prescriptions in them.
3. People pick on me.
(Mommy Break: “Is that really true?” I asked, crestfallen. She said that it is.)
Other kids say, “You should not wear your glasses. I like you better without your glasses.” Some people even make me take them off.
Here are the good things about glasses:
1. They help me see
2. Not a lot of other kids have them and that makes me special
3. They make me me.
(Mommy Break: She slays me.)
One boy in my class says nice things to me. He says, “You are very special with your glasses” and that makes me feel good.
But, then when I change my glasses, some kids say that they like my new glasses and then other kids say that they like my other pair better and no matter what, it kind of hurts. Sometimes, the same kids say they like both pairs of glasses best. It’s like no matter what I do they make a big deal of it.
At this point, my little girl started to get upset, so we cut the “assignment” short.
I held her in my arms. “Your glasses are awesome, doll,” I said. “But, they do not define you!”
Then, with perfect timing, her little brother came into the room and the family decided to play outside, which is what I should be doing instead of writing this piece. And I am about to join them.
But, first, I just want to remind you of the lessons that my daughter reinforced to me today.
Think before you speak.
Lead with love.
And, most of all, don’t just settle with being bespectacled.