I have always had perfect vision — that is until I entered my forties and found it increasingly difficult to read small print. Funny how all text everywhere suddenly seemed to get smaller and lighter. It was a revelation when I put on my first pair of glasses: I could see!
Hearing that I needed them came as a shock and trying on pair after pair was an out-of-body experience. None looked right, the image in the mirror was of some freaky, alternate version of me, and I wasn’t at all sure I liked seeing hints of my mother staring back. I was conservative with my first pair: simple wire rims with rectangular lenses. It took months before I stopped doing a double-take every time I passed a mirror.
I was reminded of that today as I watched Sam try on pair after pair. We just found out he needs bifocals. Bifocals! Over the years, one or two people may have said it looked like he had a lazy eye. It was not something I ever really noticed and he’s always been such a great reader — I didn’t think it was anything serious. Then a few weeks ago, his new O.T. called and said she definitely saw it while working with him so I made an appointment with a pediatric opthamologist.
Bifocals for a 5-year-old? Turns out he has trouble focusing with both distance and up close and a pretty pronounced lazy eye. There’s a chance he could outgrow the need for them, but I feel awful that he’s been struggling all this time.
When we first got to the store, he refused to even look at frames. Then we found a blue pair and although he liked them, he refused to put them on. After much cajoling, he allowed me to hook them over his ears but as soon as he caught a peek of himself in the mirror, he covered his eyes. I knew, of course, he was seeing the same thing that I did the first time I tried on a pair: who was that stranger looking back?
Never mind that he looks adorable in them. Never mind that I’m told by my popular, 15-year-old stepson that no one teases about glasses anymore (really?), it’s hard not to worry — he is already so quirky, will he be teased for this too?
So yes, eventually he started trying on one pair after another, laughing at each new look. He did not like the simple gold and silver-colored rims the store manager was pushing. He called the pair we ended up buying his “Superman glasses”: thin black rims with a hint of blue on the sides.