I didn’t post about my writing group from January because it was basically my One Little Word post, reworked a little because our topic for January was Resolutions/New Year, and most of you have already read it.
We had our meeting for February last night. Our topic for February was glasses. I thought this was kind of funny because just the other day Aubrey posted about her glasses. What timing! Anyway, here’s my contribution, complete with visual evidence. Enjoy!
The summer I was seven years old I sat by my dad in a pew at church. We usually sat near the front of the chapel. The meeting was ending as I reached forward and removed a hymnal from it’s holder in front of me. After a few seconds of mindless flipping I whispered to my dad, “What number are we singing?”
He vaguely motioned to the front of the chapel where the hymn numbers were posted. I nodded, but leaned in to him again whispering, “I know, but I can’t really read it.”
With a furrowed brow he looked right at me, “What do you mean?”
“I mean the numbers are all fuzzy,” I explained.
“Look again,” he encouraged, “What does the first number say?”
I squinted at the numbers trying to make them clear. It helped a little but it hurt my eyes to squint for so long. I mumbled the numbers and he asked me the next one, watching me to see what I was doing. After seeing me squint to read each number he put his arm around me and whispered, “We’ll set up an eye appointment for you.”
I don’t really remember how the eye appointment went, but after the visit we went to a different store to choose some glasses. My brother needed some, too, so we picked them out together. I quickly found some I loved and, though my mom tried to persuade me to go for something a little more conservative, she placed an order for a pair of dark pink frames with little Mickey Mouse pictures on the sides. It also came with the coolest of all glasses cases; a Mickey Mouse shaped envelope for them to hide in while I wasn’t wearing them.
I was so excited to get glasses. I thought it would be so fun to wear them all the time and look smart. When they finally arrived I tried them on and was amazed at what I had been missing. Both my parents have bad eyesight and they passed along the gene to me. I don’t know how long I’d been seeing so poorly, but with my new glasses it was like I was seeing the whole world for the first time again. I jumped on my bike and rode up and down the street. I was amazed that the mountains by my home had trees and bushes on them. For so long they’d only been blobs of greenish-brown.
A few weeks later I started second grade. At the very end of first grade I’d lost one of my front teeth. My first loose tooth! The other had fallen out over the summer and I had two huge front teeth trying to take over my little girl mouth. I felt so grown up with new teeth and new glasses. I wore a pretty dress and gave my normal smile on school picture day that year. When I received my photographs I was a little surprised by how I looked. I was kind of geeky! How did this happen!? Even now, I find it a severely humiliating picture. Though there was nothing I could do about my teeth, and I finally grew into them anyway, I never wore my glasses in a school picture again. Though I still liked my glasses I thought I looked prettier without them.
One day, later that fall I was running on the playgroud and tripped, falling flat on my face. Miraculously I had only skinned my palms and scraped my knee. No blood to speak of and no broken nose, but my glasses got bent out of shape and scratched. I was so sad. They were still new to me and now had a scratch about an inch and a half long on upper part of the left lens. I bent them back into shape and got used to ignoring the scratch mark. As kid, things like this happened with considerable frequency and since I usually fell asleep with them on as well, two years later, when I finally got new glasses, my Mickey Mouse glasses were so bent out of shape I don’t know how I was able to wear them at all.
My vision continued to worsen as the years went by and I went through a pair of glasses that were mottled pink, though not as horrible as my old ones, and a more grown-up pair with gold rims and tortoise shell brown sidebars. They were sort of like the frames my parents wore.
I liked all my glasses while I had them but still thought I looked prettier without any glasses at all. In ninth grade I talked to my mom about getting contacts. She thought I’d become mature enough to take care of them and agreed to let me talk to our eye doctor about getting some and set up an appointment. I was thrilled when he agreed. He ordered the contacts and I went in for a fitting. I have an astigmatism, but not enough to make much of a difference in my vision, so I received a set of soft contact lenses. I was supposed to get a pair of glasses, too, but never did because I always wore my contacts. I felt so grown up wearing my new contacts and things changed a little. People noticed that I had dark blue eyes! My glasses weren’t the first thing they saw anymore. It may seem like a small thing, but as a fourteen year old girl it made a big difference to me. I’ve always liked my eyes. They’re a gift from my mom, who got them from her daddy. They’re a strange blue because they’re so dark, and they aren’t always noticed right away, but while hiding them behind glasses no one ever noticed them. While wearing contacts I suddenly started getting comments about them all the time, even from complete strangers. It was nice to hear that people noticed something different about me. It made me feel special, and as a teenager anything that made me feel special was a blessing.
I took pretty good care of my lenses until eleventh grade when I started falling asleep in them all the time. I would wake up with them sort of suction cupped to my eyes, rub them around a minute, and be on my way. Really unhealthy, I know, but I was a dumb teenager and didn’t really consider what this might be doing. I stopped doing it after a few months, thank goodness, but still wonder if it did any real damage. I’m still crossing my fingers I didn’t. Now I take them out even when I start drifting off to sleep during the day. I don’t even want to mess with the bad things that could happen to my eyes. While in college I went for an eye appointment and was told I needed a glaucoma screening. I took a little test and everything was fine, but it was a little scary. I wondered if it had anything to do with sleeping in my contacts so much, but a year or two later my brother Fuffy had to have a glaucoma screening, too. He doesn’t wear glasses or contacts at all (lucky guy) so I stopped worrying about it.
I continued on with only contacts for years until NYDD and I decided we wanted to start trying to have a baby. I started thinking about having to get up at odd hours and feed or change a baby and all the other things sleep deprived mommies have to do and decided I needed a pair of glasses. I talked to NYDD about it and he thought it would be better than me fumbling around in the middle of the night, trying to change a diaper, but needing to be only two inches away from my baby’s behind to see what I was doing. Glasses were definitely a must. NYDD and I went to a glasses shop and I tried on dozens of frames. NYDD liked the ones with little to no frame around the lenses. I liked those but found some thin dark frames that were a little naughty librarian-esque and thought they made me look sophisticated. After talking about it I finally compromised and chose some with dark frames only around the top of the lenses with the bottom of the lenses unframed.
It’s nice having glasses again, especially when I’m having lazy days and don’t want to wear my contacts. I was especially glad I had them while being a new mommy. I still like my glasses and wear them fairly frequently. I still think I’m prettier without them, though, and if I’ve been wearing them a lot I start feeling like I look like a geek, but if I haven’t worn them for a while I feel like they make me look sophisticated. I have sort of a love/hate relationship with them.
Someday I hope to have laser eye surgery so I can remember what it’s like to wake up and see what time it is without having to get only a few inches away from the clock or grabbing my glasses. I want to go swimming again without worrying that I’m going to lose a contact. I just don’t want to have to worry about it anymore. My old eye doctor told me I’d be a good candidate for surgery, but as I don’t have thousands of dollars lying around waiting to be spent on random things I’m going to have to wait.