Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Just Being Honest
Yesterday my mother-in-law and I made the trek to go see an eye specialist for Joshua. I've thought that something was wrong with his eyes since he was a baby and started asking our pediatrician about it when he was six months old. I was told to wait and that it'd probably get better with time. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but, it seemed that his eye turned in occasionally. Most of the time it was his left eye but sometimes it was his right. I asked around the family to see if anyone else noticed it and most people said "No." Both of the grandmas did but very infrequently.
Nevertheless, when he started to walk, we also noticed that he was quite clumsy. Okay, most kids are...but he was especially clumsy and when he would fall, he'd almost ALWAYS fall and hit the left side of his face. When he had his two year check-up, I finally got his pediatrician to give me a referral to an ophthalmologist. He said he didn't see anything wrong on his eye exams but that he believed me and since I'd been bugging him for so long about it, that he'd oblige me. Thank you very much.
So that brings us to yesterday. Everything went quite well. We did get wrong directions to the doctor's office over an hour away, but were able to recover quickly and still make it to the appointment. The doctor didn't see anything wrong at first either but when they dilated his eyes and they relaxed, it was very apparent, even to us, what the problem was...he's cross eyed. What you say?!! Cross eyed? Isn't that something that is extremely noticeable? Well, evidently not. Some kids show signs from birth and those are more obvious cases. However, others like Joshua, have intermittent eye turning that slowly gets worse with age. If it's not caught, they can lose vision in the eye that turns in. Luckily for Joshua, it was caught early enough for glasses to fix it. The doctor looked at me triumphantly as she pronounced that he'd have perfect vision with glasses (evidently a lot of kids with this problem, don't end up with good vision so this is something to be thankful for). I quickly processed the announcement and then asked if the problem would be corrected after a few years of glasses or if he was to wear them forever.
She cheerfully responded it was forever as in...the rest of his life.
Now, I want to preface the following comments with this statement. I know that him having to wear glasses, in the grand scheme of things, is NOT a big deal. At least he doesn't have cancer or something way more serious. But even though I knew that I needed to keep it in perspective, there was something that bothered me about him having to wear glasses for the rest of his life yet, I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Sure, I thought about how he might get made fun of for being different and I didn't like that. He has such a spunky personality though that I don't think he'll have too much of a problem with that. I also thought about how him having this condition would make more work for me with regards to doctor's visits, keeping the glasses on, etc. However, that didn't bother me much either because all parents don't truly mind being inconvenienced for their kids especially when it comes to their health. No...none of these things were the problem. Something else kept nagging at my heart and it took me all day to figure out what it was.
Then finally, when I got some time to think through the whole thing a bit on my own with a little peace and quiet, I figured it out--his face was going to change. His face. The face that I've known, loved and cherished for two years now was going to go through a permanent change and I didn't want it to happen. Why? Because I think he's perfect even with his eye turning in. I don't want any glasses getting in the way of his adorable expressions. Why should they? I want Joshua. And to me, Joshua doesn't wear glasses.
I was actually really surprised at myself and this reaction. I hadn't realized this would bother me so much. I know it needs to be done and really, I fought to get him checked out so I'm not sad at all that they found the problem. I really am relieved and thankful that glasses can correct his eyes.
But his face...I'm going to miss his face. I'll have to get used to a new one. I know I will. I'll get to know Joshua with glasses and I know he'll still be as cute as ever to me. Ultimately, glasses won't change that. But it will take me time.
And you know what, I think I'm okay with that.