I have been wearing glasses since I was five years old. Life through lenses is how life looks to me. This doesn't explain the pit that appeared in my stomach when I found out that my son would need glasses. He, like his father, had a lazy eye and the notion that I might have somehow passed along this unenviable trait to him in the lottery of genetics made me terribly sad. The fact that he rarely wears them now and occasionally pops in a contact lens or two has brought me some relief, but I have not fully escaped the vortex of guilt I swirl around for impairing my son's vision.
Which doesn't keep me from being lighthearted about it when kids at my school are prescribed corrective lenses. Here I see it as a victory, since one of the possible roadblocks to reading has been removed, and all those gray squiggles on the page can now be transformed into letters and words. "All the smart people wear glasses," I whisper to those students who are struggling with their new eyewear.
Because it is a struggle. When I was a lad, the optometry department at the medical center stocked extra left and right bows in my style because they knew that I would be in on a regular basis, looking for a replacement for the twisted plastic and metal that resulted simply as a matter of them riding on the face of a five year old. I see this same struggle occur on our playground on a daily basis, and even though parents admonish their children to leave their glasses inside when they go out to recess, that's a step that sometimes gets missed when it comes time to race out to the playground. Once fun and physics take over, anything can happen. And heaven forbid that a kid would actually remember to take his or her glasses off and put them in a safe place before all that action, resulting in that safe place turning out to be not so safe or easily forgotten.
Back to the world of the nearly sightless. Another trip to the optometrist and another chance to adorn the bridge of your child's nose with a fancy new pair of spectacles. Until that pair is dropped, crushed, lost or digested by the void.
Now that I'm all grown up, I tend to hold on to a pair of glasses until my insurance says I can get a new pair. For the past nine months, I have been limping around with glasses that are slightly askew, a result of an unfortunate collision with a fourth grader. He wasn't wearing his glasses. I was. My glasses took the brunt of the impact.
I'll get this straight again soon.