Now you see it……Part 1

It had been a long, stressful day so it felt great to just sit down on the couch with my blanket, dog and hot tea. My husband was busy working on his computer not really paying attention to what was on the TV. The headline read Harrison Ford hurt in plane crash. However, the words were wavy and some letters were missing. The whole screen looked distorted. I asked “Is there something wrong with the TV screen?” He looked at the screen and replied “No, looks fine to me.” I blinked my eyes several times to adjust my eyes. Still the screen looked distorted. I moved closer to the screen to see if it was my near sighted eyes playing tricks on me. No chance. I was a little worried. I again asked my hubby if he saw something strange happening with the TV. “The writing and picture is all wavy” I said. He got a concerned look on his face. I again explained that screen was completely wavy and I couldn’t see all of the headline He said “Maybe you should just go to bed. It’s been a long day, maybe you’re just tired.” I agreed and went to bed hoping the next morning I could see clearly. I thought maybe it was my contacts bothering me.

In the morning I woke up and stumbled to the sink and put my contacts in, half forgetting the problems I had the night before. My eyes still seemed blurry in my right eye. I squinted to see if that would help and decided the best thing to do was change my contacts to a new set and see if that helped. It didn’t. I really didn’t have time for such an inconvenience as no eyesight, I thought sarcastically. I was leaving on a trip to see my Mom and help her after her knee surgery. I struggled to read and to drive. It wasn’t impossible, but uncomfortable and annoying. I decided to see my eye doctor before I left on my trip and get a new updated prescription.

The news from the optometrist wasn’t wanted I wanted to hear. My doctor didn’t see a change in my prescription. “It would be best to dilated your eyes and have a better look”, he said. He dilated my eyes and took a closer look. His diagnosis was “I don’t know. It could be a detached retina or macular hole. It is best to see an ophthalmologist and get a better diagnosis. Since your eyes are already dilated I think you should go now and have him take a look.”  So I walked to the parking lot with my sunglasses on struggling to make my  way to the car. I drove slowly and made it to the  ophthalmologist just to hear them say “We are booked today. Plus your primary physician must approve you to see a specialist”. Since I was flying out the next day I decided to wait and take care of this when I got back from my trip. I mean how bad could this really be?

 

I went ahead on my trip. I lived with the distortion in my right eye as uncomfortable and annoying as it was. I had no choice. When I returned home, my appointment with the ophthalmologist was scheduled. I was instructed to bring a driver with me so they could run a series of tests. Luckily, my Dad came to take me to my appointment. The news was not good. The ophthalmologist says he could see three things wrong with my eye. He stated he had never seen such a distorted shape to an eye. He recommended I see a retina specialist the very next day. This is when I started to get very concerned that I may lose my eyesight. The ophthalmologist ruled out a detached retina, but I was still in jeopardy of having a condition in which I could lose my sight in my right eye.

“You have a macular pucker”. What in the world is a macular pucker? ……..

She dressed in pink….

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of Denny’s I saw her. Although she was only in 4th grade, she was getting so tall. The pink cowboy hat only added to her height. She was walking towards us with a huge smile. I knew her weekend with Grandpa at the rodeo was exactly what she needed and wanted. It was the end of the school year and either the kids were restless for Summer or the hormones had just started kicking in for all them, but changes were definitely happening. We ate breakfast and she told us all about the horses and bulls and all the excitement about getting her new cowboy hat. It was a lovely shade of pepto-bismo pink. I noted the feather on the side hanging onto a roach clip. “Really, Dad?” I asked. “What? She doesn’t know what it is. She wanted the bright pink hat with the white feather” Uggghhh! Well, as long as she just wears it at home we will be fine I thought.

I heard her bathroom door early the next morning. What was she up doing so early? My hubby and I had bought her a Hello Kitty alarm clock when she was in preschool to encourage her to get up with her own alarm. The plan worked and all through school she learned to get up with her own alarm. I know from talking with friends that kids getting up without a fight was something of a parental victory for us! I got up and went downstairs to get my morning coffee and try to wake up while she was getting ready. She called me from upstairs to help. She needed help doing her hair a certain way. I made my way to her bathroom and the pink outfit stopped me in my tracks. You know when you have the gnawing feeling in your stomach when your kid is about to do something you just know is a mistake? Well….mine chose to dress in pink corduroy pants, pink long sleeved top, and pink cowboy boots. This just seems wrong. Who bought her these clothes anyway? (raises hand). I didn’t expect she would wear all these clothes together! “What’s the matter?” I asked. “I need to do my hair in two braids to match my theme”. Theme?! “Um, ok, but what’s the outfit for? Is this country and western day or something?” She stopped and looked straight at me “No Mom, I’m wearing my new hat and I needed an outfit to match.” I was speechless. I want to tell you I’m the type of mother that will let her child dress as she likes to express her individuality, but I’m not. I want her to match her clothes….wait, what?….she is matching…..what? How was I going to explain to her this just wasn’t going to work? Isn’t it against the rules to wear a hat to school? I was sure of it. “Babe, I don’t think you are allowed to wear a hat at school”. She looked at me as if I had a third eye and said “Sure, boys wear hats all the time. Why can’t girls?” (Because yours is pepto-bismo pink, that’s why) “I’m not sure. I have never seen a girl with a hat on at school.” “Mom, you just have to take it off in class.” I had to think of something quick. This wasn’t the end of the world, but I just new in my heart she was going to get clobbered with stares and smirks all day. I tried to convince her that maybe it was too hot out or she may get the outfit dirty. She wasn’t having any of it. So, I helped her with her braids and we ate breakfast and hopped in the car, hat and all.

There was that feeling again….as soon as we pulled up I got nervous. I didn’t want to see my beautiful daughter get laughed at. There really was nothing for me to do, but be honest. “Babe, there may be some older kids who will laugh at you today because of your outfit. How do you feel?” She looked at me with a calm face and said “I know. I don’t care what they think. I like my outfit.” I was so thankful to have sunglasses on so I could hide the tears welling up in my eyes. I didn’t know whether to cry because I was embarrassed about my attitude towards my daughter or because I was so grateful she was so much wiser than I was.

She kissed me on the cheek and shut the car door. The assistant principal who monitors the gate stopped to say something to her then she smiled and waved me on. I went home and thought about what I would wear at her age. I don’t think I was that brave.

swing in nature

The day passed with no phone call from school. I halfway thought I would get a call that she wasn’t “feeling well” or that I needed to pick up that damn hat because it was a distraction. I pulled up to the school and saw her immediately. She was the little girl with the bright pink hat and a big smile on. She hopped in the car and said “Hi Mommy”. I was relieved she was so happy. “Hi Babe, how was school?” She did not pause. “School was great. My teacher and the principal loved my outfit.” “Really? You didn’t get made fun of by the other kids?” I asked. “Yeah, a bunch of sixth graders laughed and pointed, but I didn’t care.” She said calmly and stared straight ahead. “Are you sure your ok with it? Did you tell the teacher?” “Oh no, I don’t care what they think. I ignored them and they left to go play ball”.

Now it was my turn to smile. I was never prouder of my child. You see, I wouldn’t have worn the all pink outfit with braids in my hair. I would have worried while getting ready that I was going to be laughed at. I would play it safe and wear something plain so I wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. I would not have been as brave. My husband and I have always tried to instill confidence in our daughter and show her love and encourage her to be true to herself. These attributes are not something we had a full supply of growing up. I am grateful we had the courage to give to her what we sometimes don’t have ourselves.

Mamas, our daughters learn from our actions. They are always watching us. Sometimes we have to “Do as I say, not as I do”. But isn’t it time to think more of ourselves and ignore those who you think will be watching and laughing and judging ? Isn’t it time to give yourselves a break from molding yourself into what “everyone” else wants you to be? You have my permission to go out into that playground with your favorite pink outfit and be yourself! You never know who is watching……

1 7 8 9