My sweet 4yo just got her first pair of glasses. You can read about her condition here. I couldn’t sleep last night, at all, but let’s back up. About two weeks ago, we went to the eyeglass place and she only liked one pair of glasses: red Hello Kitty frames. Of course. The problem is they are the ones with the nose prongs. I knew this was going to be an issue. Hell, I knew that the whole “having to wear glasses constantly” was going to be an issue. But as a parent, I wanted her to have whatever she would wear. I couldn’t force the practical ones on her.
Yesterday, we went to pick them up. Both my husband and I had prepped her. We explained how awesome glasses are and just because her daddy and brother don’t wear them, I did, and I would take out my contacts and wear my glasses just like her. We talked to her about having to wear them almost all the time and I showed her how she was going to have to gently take them on and off. I didn’t get it. I mean I did in a way. I knew that this was big deal, but it didn’t sink in until last night, about five hours after her having glasses for the first time.
Within the first hour, they were bothering her. They itched. They didn’t match her shirt. And as many times that shes changes in just one hour, the on and off of the glasses, was making me nervous that these thin wire frames would only last a few days. I was a brave, comforting mom. I explained how she would have to get used to them. What a lie.
I am still not comfortable in my glasses and I’ve had them since 5th grade. 25 years! I’ve had contacts for 21 years and my glasses have only served as back-ups. I wear gas permeable contact lenses, hard contacts, and they are easy and effortless. I don’t have to take them out every night and if your eyesight doesn’t change, then they can last forever. I just got a new pair not even two years ago and before that, it was probably nine years since I had new contacts.
Back to not being comfortable in my glasses. My first pair were purple ombre with glitter. I still remember them and I still remember just how ridiculous they were. But from a mom’s point of view, I get it. You want what your child is going to wear. You don’t care how silly they look, just that your child wears them. But I remember being made fun of, not just because of my crazy colored glasses, but just for wearing glasses. I remember and remember and remember the more than fours years of having them before I got contacts. I remember just how ugly I felt. And all of those feelings came rushing back to me last night.
Combine the four years of ugliness and cruel ways kids are with the path that has led us to my sweet baby girl getting glasses, I broke down. I couldn’t sleep. Trying to explain to my non-glasses wearing husband was impossible. He was never going to get it. The thing is: little kids in glasses = so cute, older elementary kids in glasses = not so much. That’s when kids are mean. And even though I know that I ended up getting contacts and grew into myself (and dare I say, becoming pretty), I don’t wish this journey and trouble on my daughter.
I couldn’t sleep at all last night thinking about all of this. Sooner than I think, she is going to have to face the mean kids and I hope that I will have instilled in her the courage to not only be different, but to hold her head up high and remember that she is beautiful and that the stupid shit kids say is just that: stupid.
Dear Baby Girl (Simone):
You are beautiful. Glasses. No glasses. Miss matched clothes. Everything. You are you and you will be celebrate like you won’t believe. I encourage you to be different, be courageous and be the brave, outspoken, loud fearless girl I know you are. I hope that if any kid ever talks down to you because you wear glasses, that you will intelligently and fiercely shut them down. Hell, I don’t even care if you throw in some of those four letter words we tell you can’t say. Sometimes a giant Fuck You backed up by informative knowledge is not a bad thing. You are so amazing and I hope you take on my carefree, vibrant and self-centered attitude when it comes to this. I love you more than you can ever imagine!
Mommy. Nikki. Mom. Mom. MOM. MOM. MOMMY. NIKKI