#424 “I see better from a distance”

I rolled out of bed this morning after a blessed sleep and did my normal bleary-eyed check on the state of things in the world via my phone. Time? Boo-yah that was a great sleep. Weather? Cold. Email? Nothing urgent. Messenger comment from a friend? Noted. Facebook notifications and feed? Done, done, done … oh hello… what’s this?


Right. This is Facebook’s “this day X year(s) ago”. I had not realised until this popped up that it’s been exactly year since Hawkeye got his glasses. These photos were taken on our trip to a restaurant right after we got his first pair of glasses fitted at Specsavers. I found it funny at the time that his vision did resemble that of his comic book namesake. Hawkeye’s main strength, aside from his incredible arms archery skill, is his sight. One could, in fact, argue that it underpins his ability to shoot so accurately. He does his best, as he says himself, is when he can see better from a distance.

Well, it turned out that our kid was also incredibly long sighted. Maybe not enough to call it a superpower, but enough that it was causing him a lot of problems when trying to focus on things up close. Since his initial opthalmologist appointment he’s been under the care of a very good orthoptist that has made excellent progress at strengthening his overall vision and reducing the difference between the left and the right eye. Let me tell you, trying to gauge the eyesight of a child that can’t read yet? That’s a sight to behold (pardon the pun). I am always grateful that the problem manifested to us fairly early so that by the time he starts school in September his vision will be about as settled as possible for his age. If we hadn’t noticed the turn in his eye, we may not have known there were any issues until he started learning to read.

But there is always one aspect of this story that makes me sad, and that is that I can no longer see his face all the time without his glasses. He is very good about wearing them, which means he has them on from morning to bedtime. And he just doesn’t look the same to me. It’s a completely ridiculous, sentimental, illogical regret, and yet here it is. ‘Sentimental’, ‘illogical’, and ‘ridiculous’ are pretty normal feelings for a mother watching her child growing up. I recognise the irrationality of my own thoughts but I can’t entirely get rid of them.

Every now and then, when I am going through the bedtime routine, I will look at him as he’s in the middle of clowning around while trying to put on his own pyjamas, and I’ll try and sneak some photos of his facial expressions. Because at this point, the glasses would have come off and I see his face as it used to be (albeit more boyish now instead of toddler-like). Instead of simply appearing goofy, as he does when he’s being intentionally silly, he looks a bit more coy, more clever. And when he stops goofing off and actually gets down to the business of getting dressed and simply smiles at whatever thought just passed through his head, his whole face softens and radiates in a way I can’t see behind his glasses.

Chances are, he will always need glasses though over time his long distance vision should recede and instead become more like mine (near sighted). Who knows – maybe when he grows up he will prefer contact lenses or laser eye surgery and I won’t always see him in glasses. But for now, I have resigned myself to watching him grown up bespectacled. I am always grateful that his vision is relatively easily corrected and does not require surgery. I am grateful that glasses are all he needs. And I will certainly do whatever I need to do to make sure he wears them as long as he needs them.

But I will never stop sneaking photos of him when the glasses come off. Those are the images of him that I treasure the most.

Feature photo rendered with a Portra app filter

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