My son was blessed with big brown eyes and long lashes that make grown women coo. At age nine, he's asked to trim his gorgeous lashes because they brush against his swim goggles. (Um, no.) Someday he'll be more than happy to have girls swooning over those lashes.
My daughter's eyes are just as big but blue. At her one-year check-up, I asked the doctor when her eyes were going to change color. When she told me, "I don't think they are," my husband and I scrambled to search the family tree for ancestors that would make a blue-eyed child possible. It wasn't obvious. Those bright blue eyes are the product of some seriously recessive genes--she gets them from two great-grandmothers.
The random magic of the gene pool worked wonders for my children's eyes. I doubt it will be as forgiving with their eyesight.
I've worn glasses since second grade and can't see a damn thing without them. I can't see my bedside clock. To apply mascara, my face must nearly touch the bathroom mirror. The assistants at the optometrist's office often give me a wide-eyed "wow" when they see my prescription. My husband didn't get his glasses until high school, but he's not much better off.
Thank goodness for contact lenses.
I got my first contact lenses in February of eighth grade. It was a huge day in my life--the beginning of the end of a long, painful, awkward adolescence that included braces, a boy's haircut, and mid-80s fashions with my Coke-bottle glasses. It wasn't pretty.
Since that February day in 1985, I have rarely been seen out of my house wearing glasses. The styles and technology have improved greatly--meaning that even my glasses aren't ugly--but the goofy looking kid who was called "Four Eyes" lives inside me and just can't just over it.
When my son needed glasses at the end of first grade, I wanted to cry. Silly, I know. Hugely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but sad for me nonetheless. I brought my own baggage to it and worried that he'd be teased. If I'm honest, however, most of my sadness was superficial and selfish. I didn't want those beautiful eyes hidden behind glasses. I didn't want to give up my pretty little boy to the inevitable awkwardness of the next few years.
My son has worn his glasses full-time for two and a half years now. They are as much a part of him as the big brown eyes behind them. He has not been teased. Kids no longer tease each other about glasses and some wear them only for fashion. The little four-eyed kid inside me doesn't understand this but envies it.
I still wish I'd given my son the genetic opportunity to go through childhood without glasses, but he doesn't seem to mind. I can still see the pretty boy behind them, and someday young girls will too.
It's only a matter of time before the blue eyes also will be behind glasses. Although I know my daughter will make a fashion statement out of them in a way I never could, I will still be sad when the day comes. I wish the world could forever see my children as I do--bright-eyed and beautiful first and foremost.