Although my optometrist assures me that my eyes are remarkable for a woman my age, I am starting to feel the effects of my aging eyes. The mottled blur of things that are much too close. The inexplicable shortening of my arms. The squinting.
I am told by experts that I can't actually feel my lenses thickening and I kind of wish I didn't know it was happening; my mental imagery sees formations of ice, ocular glaciers, creeping their way across my retinas.
If only the world was more beautiful as a result. I don't need Google glasses, I need Monet glasses. I might not mind the ever-increasing blur if it looked like this.
Instead my world is becoming blurrily nondescript.
Imperfect eyesight is especially frustrating to those who want the details, the contents, the ingredients. What's in that? How much can I take? Is it 4:00 or 4:08? Are those specs of coffee grounds on my kitchen counter or are they ants? Are they moving or is it just that I haven't had enough coffee?
So now I'm equipped with a giant magnifying glass and I'm not afraid to use it.
I am, however, not quite ready to wear it around my neck.
In addition to my magnifier, I have glasses in my purse, on my head, by my bed, by every computer and in my bathroom. Yes. Even there. I'm stashing them around the house like acorns for winter.
But Juliette, whose blur is much worse than mine, seems almost fine with it at times. She has, I suspect, been living with some level of blur most of her life, and despite a few "Aha" moments when she realized that leaves and bricks and sidewalk pavements all come in multiples and not just one long mosaic, she seems to be okay with some haze in her surroundings.
That, or she just doesn't want to be "the girl who wears glasses."
As a witness for the girl-glasses theory, I have to reveal that a month ago she called me from school in the middle of the day to tell me that she simply couldn't read the smartboard anymore, especially when the teacher writes in red pen, and she always writes in red pen and Something Must Be Done. You have to listen to Juliette when she speaks with capital letters, and I managed to get her an appointment that very day.
The optometrist looked at the test results with a puzzled face, something I dislike intensely. I want to know. I want you, the expert, to know. I want you to know that I know. I want you to know, that I want you to know. Oh, wait, I've gone all Kill Bill again.
Anyway, Puzzled Optometrist did several more tests and proclaimed what seemed to me impossible: her eyes had gone from slightly farsighted with an astigmatism, to mostly nearsighted with an astigmatism; her glasses are worthless, no wonder she has headaches.
And how can that be? Well, she grew. She's grown over a half inch in the past six months and as her legs were growing longer her eyeballs were growing bigger. And bigger in this case, while normal, did not ultimately result in better.
Should I be worried? She doesn't have a brain tumor or anything, right?
No, said Increasingly Less Puzzled Optometrist. This is unusual but not unheard of (cue mental note: get second opinion).
We measured her for new lenses, handed over the old glasses, since the lenses were worthless and the frames were still the only ones she liked, and prepared for a long week without glasses. Oh, and did I mention this is not covered by insurance because they only cover lenses once a year, which, until today, seemed totally reasonable? Yep.
Every day she asked me when they would be ready.
Soon, I said, soon. They put a rush on it..
Then finally, "today?"
Yes. We'll get them after school.
We go to Totally Back to Normal Optometrist and she puts the new glasses on. They help instantly. They're biofical transition lenses and that will take some getting used to, but the world is crisp and clear she says "Look, I see leaves!"
The doctor checks the glasses and says something I thought was so obvious I was oblivious and unprepared for the impact of his words "From now on, you'll need to wear those glasses all of the time."
I had a total Scooby Doo moment. I mean, if she can't see without them, and not wearing glasses gives her headaches, and school is hard when you can't see the board, and your teacher always writes in red pen etc. wouldn't wearing glasses all the time be a good thing?
Because that would transform her from the Girl Who Wears Glasses in Class, but doesn't need them outside at recess, to the Girl Who Wears Glasses All of the Time. And this was a problem.
Fast forward through a week of "Where are your glasses? Did you wear your glasses in class? Put your glasses on. What? How could you leave your glasses at home? Do you want to get headaches again? You have a headache right now?" Do you even recognize this nagging creature dressed in your mother's clothes? Of course not, you can barely see her. And PS, I don't recognize her either. "Put your glasses on. Now."
She rebelled. She complained about cleaning them. She asked for contacts. She "forgot" them. She hated them. She cried a lot. For a week.
But at some point she gave in. Whether to visual clarity or threats from her parents, it's a little too early to say. But her homework gets done faster and the feedback from the teachers is good.
To her credit she is doing a good job of keeping track of the slightly less-hated-than-before glasses. If she wanted to, she could lose them, and force her mother to pay another out-of-pocket $600. Instead she's keeping them on her nose where they belong and it's understood that we only talk about them when she wants to talk about them, which is almost never.
But at least now she can see the trees from the forest.