I've always maintained that parenting is the absolute most universal thing we human beings engage in. It all begins the same -- although I'm sure some fairly creative, aerobic, double jointed people out there would disagree with me. We struggle through the pain and joy of childbirth the same - however I have yet to meet the woman who was not up for a good game of "My Labor Was Worse Than Yours". And we all deal with the same baby poop, tantrums and belligerent teens - face it, mudslide diapers, screaming fits and eye rolling are the same in any language.
One of the more humorous aspects of parenting that we all share is the way we tend to obsess over who the baby will look like. Will he have Dad's dimpled chin? Mom's chestnut locks? Will she have that widow's peak passed down through generations? Or will she inherit her father's tight curls?
I was no different in the anticipation of our daughters' arrivals, having a wish list of my own. Of course, like any parent, health was at the top of that list, followed closely by adorable. I wished for them to be petite like me. (More for the delivery than the long-term.) I wished for them to have their father's thick, fast growing hair. (Snails on quaaludes move faster than my hair grows.) I also wanted them to have my eyes. I like my eyes. No, scratch that. I love my eyes. In the genetic pool of life, I may not have won great hair, big boobs or long legs, but I did get wonderful eyes. They are green, they are big, they are different. THAT is what I wanted to pass on to my children.
It was not in the stars (or my uterus for that matter), although there are no complaints from me. My three daughters are gorgeous, blonde haired, BLUE eyed creatures. BLUE eyes just like their father's. Hrumpf. Pardon me if that sounded like a complaint. All right, all right, allow me a moment here. I mean I did all the hard work! I bore them for nine long months! I endured three natural childbirths! I have the stretchmarks that nothing short of a skin transplant will remove! Was it too much to ask that ONE item be transferred to at least ONE of the three children? Was it? Was it, God?
The note came home last week. "Dear Mr. & Mrs. Sharp, I have noticed Culley squinting to see the board and flashcards. I think she may need her eyes checked." It was then I realized that not only was God listening, but that God, in fact, has a warped sense of humor. You see, one of the other attributes of my wonderful green eyes is that they do not function particularly well. Truth be told, there are bats with better eyesight than mine. Reading the note and mentally combining its contents with my daughter's recent headache complaints, I reluctantly picked up the phone and made the appointment.
My reluctance stemmed from my own bad memories of having to get glasses. It was second grade, and the choice of frames was not exactly as stylish as it is now. Also, my mother was not quite as attuned to fashion and appearance as am I. She wore cat eyed frames and allowed me to get them too. Now children are always ready for a good game of "Make Fun of Four Eyes" when a peer gets glasses. Well, walking into my class with those cat eyed spectacles, was the equivalent of being thrown to the lions. Thank God I outgrew them within the year.
My mother thought it would be a good idea to hang onto them as a back up pair. Ha! They met their tragic end when I "accidentally" left them in the driveway and my mother backed up the car. Nowadays, I happily don contact lenses each morning, but that little girl in cat eyed glasses still resides in my heart.
At the eye doctor's, he confirmed it. Culley has indeed inherited my eyes. They are nearsighted and will only get worse as time goes on. Sigh. We approached the racks of children's frames and began the process of trying on and weeding out each pair. I admit there was a pang in my heart as my beautiful little girl kept disappearing behind the frames. Finally she turned to me and said, "What do you think, Mom?" The pair she had chosen were perfect. Not only did they complement her face shape and hair color, they were artsy, just like her. Gorgeous, I told her.
She eagerly awaited the phone call telling her to pick them up. When it finally came, and they placed them on her nose, I immediately remembered what I had forgotten about that little cat eyed girl so long ago. It did not matter what shape they were, my daughter could SEE. Funny how vanity and many, many years can blind you to what is really important.
And just for the record, no one made fun of her at school. She walked in to rave reviews from boys and girls alike. It seems that wearing glasses has somehow morphed into a "cool" thing in this new millennium. Although I still think those cat-eyed frames should rest in pieces. CRUNCH.