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Posts Tagged ‘glasses’

She smiled.

When I asked her how her day went, she smiled.

I needed more; I needed details, didn’t she realize the not-knowing had been driving me crazy all day?? I pressed her for more.

“You wore your glasses?” I asked. “How did it go?”

“Fine. When I walked in the door with them on people asked if they were new. I said yes.”

Of course she walked in the door with them already on. No slumping over her desk trying to summon up the courage to put them on; not my little girl, at least not today.

I should have known.

I smiled to myself, shaking my head in amazement. I don’t know where she gets her spunk, her drama, her courage. Sometimes I just stand back in amazement, unsure how this creature, so unlike me in so many ways, actually came from me.

This girl who from a very young age would walk into a room of complete strangers and manage to make a new friend in less than five minutes. The girl who has performed in front of hundreds of people without so much as a quiver in her voice or a hitch in her step.

“Okay,” I said, speaking mostly to her back as she walked away, already moving on to the next thing.

“I’m glad.”

Perhaps this whole thing was much more about me than it ever was about her. I made it a big deal because it had been for me; that didn’t mean it would be for her. I shouldn’t have assumed it would be the same for her as it was for me.

She is her own person and although there may be instances when my experiences may teach her something, it’s just as likely that I’ll be the one learning a lesson.

A good reminder that sometimes the hardest thing about mothering is learning when to get out of the way.

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I have very few clear, distinct memories from my childhood. Some people can remember whole hours and days from when they were a kid, complete with what they were wearing and what they had for breakfast but I’ve never been like that. My memories more often take the form of snapshots, quick rememberings of a moment, a thought, a feeling, often lacking any kind of context or background. Let’s just say my memoir would be more photo album than epic novel.

That being said though, one of the things I do remember clearly is the very first time I had to wear glasses at school.

I was in Grade 6, just on the cusp of the pre-teen/teenage years. A time when I was starting to become conscious of anything and everything that made me different from those around me.

I knew I needed glasses, spent much of my time squinting my eyes so tightly that it’s a wonder I could see anything out of them at all. In a way I was happy to get them, happy to finally be able to see the board at school, the tv at home and all the other million things I was missing out on.

All of that aside though, I was terrified of actually having to put them on that first time in front of my classmates. Would they point and laugh? Would they call me names? What if I cried. Oh man, what if I cried?

I remember sitting at my desk for almost the entire day with them still tucked safely in their case. I kept psyching myself up, sliding my fingers into the case, telling myself that this time I would do it, this time I would actually take them out and put them on. And then I would chicken out.

I picked the glasses out with my mom and felt very grown up at the time. I thought they looked nice on my face and even tried to convince myself that I looked better with them on (although maybe that was just because now I could actually SEE myself). Looking back they were not the nicest of frames but, as it was the 80s, “nice” had a whole different meaning. They were round plastic frames that took up about three-quarters of my face and had a faint pink tint to them. Oh 80s, thank goodness you are gone forever.

And so I sat, hunched over my desk, face as low as it could get to the table top, sweaty hand deep inside the attached shelf, glasses sliding out of the case. I looked down, could see them sitting in my hand, now resting on my lap, just waiting. I took a deep breath, leaned down even further and put them on.

I remember it took a few minutes for anyone to notice. For a brief time I considered that maybe no one would care, maybe they would think I had always worn glasses.

Or no.

I don’t remember his name but I can see his face so clearly in my head. He looked up from his work and saw me, a smile spreading on his face. He pointed, he said my name and the words “wearing glasses” loud enough for those around him to hear. One by one everyone else in the class turned and looked at me. I wanted to crawl under my desk and hide. I wanted to take my glasses off and bury them deep in my desk where I would never have to wear them again.

My teacher quickly realized what was going on and spoke up, asking everyone to get back to their work. She passed me a quick smile. Some of my classmates continued to look up periodically, checking to see if I was still wearing them but essentially the trauma had passed. I had moved quickly from the group of people who didn’t wear glasses to the group of people who did.

When we found out last week that my daughter needed glasses, it was this scene from my childhood that went through my mind. Although we’ve known for a week, her glasses were only ready yesterday evening. Today will be her first day wearing them at school. No matter how much I wanted to protect her from it, she would have to go through that exact same moment without me. I sit here now, miles away from where she is and I imagine what she’s thinking in her head.

In my heart I know she will be fine. She’s so much more confident and outgoing than I was at her age. She’s no pushover; I know she will get through this. But I also know she’s just a little girl, trying desperately to fit in and be accepted.

I wonder if she’s hunched over her desk right now, trying to build up the courage to take the glasses out of her case and put them on. I wish I could see her; wish I could tell her it’s going to be fine. She would tell me I’m being silly, making a big deal out of nothing! but I know deep down her heart is beating a little faster.

I wish I could make it easier, but I know I can’t. She has to go through this one on her own. But tonight I will squeeze her a little tighter, hug her a little longer, because I know today will be one she’ll remember for always.

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