So my Zoom comes homes from school with a folder every day. Yes, you know the folder, the fucking folder. It’s the portal from the teacher’s classroom to your home… you know, the portal of perfection, right? The teacher puts something in the folder, it comes home. There is something different in the folder than what the teacher put in. You read it, file it away, you miss the deadline, you don’t put it on the calendar, you forget, you email the teacher, or maybe you did… Who can remember? I hate the folder. And if you have a child with ADHD, the folder is a portal to hell and back. You always wonder what the teachers are talking about… a folder? A book? My child does math at school? Wait, he doesn’t attend that school… who is this? Why do you need cookies from me for the bake sale? I’m calling the police.
You know… it’s a slippery slope. I am working on my rage, incipient rage, that flies from all things school I cannot grasp or respond to as I imagine grown up, competent, pretty, smart moms are supposed to do.
Look! My roots are fixed! I feel fabulous. Wait, I missed a concert for mother sinking what? See, I can’t let go! But you know you’re feeling it too.
So back to the folder, without rage. I open the folder five minutes before my kids leave for school because I haven’t made time to open it before then. (See how I took responsibility. I’m already growing since the last paragraph.) And I pull out a form from the school nurse… not the school lady who is in the nurse’s office… the actual nurse at the school, in the nurse’s office.
Zoom’s eyesight is 30/40. He needs glasses. Hmmmm… Did you finish your breakfast, Zoom? Mack, where’s your backpack? Why is it in the shower? Get it out. I don’t’ care if it’s wet. Put it by the front door to dry off. You have 3 minutes before you have to leave. Should be perfect by then.
So I blurted out… “Look, Zoom, you need glasses!”
Yep, that was it. Good job, super mom. That didn’t feel super weird and tourette’s like. Just blurt out he needs a prosthetic leg! No big deal. Now head off to school, sweetheart! Love you! But thing is, I didn’t realize I had Tourette’s until he looked at me, prior to my comment. It was that look your child gives you when the Santa Claus at the mall accidentally trips them, and they look at you to understand why something beautiful in life has hurt them. Or did it hurt them? Was it an accident? Should there be pain or glee? Should I cry or laugh or say “hmmmm”. Should I pull my eyes out and bowl with them or should I picture myself as a model of glasses… by Louis Voutton…. (I spelled it right… not the fancy one.)
And I thought super fast!
“Isn’t that GREAT?!” I smiled so big it hurt! I actually got a new wrinkle on each eye. They’re gorgeous.
I showed no sign of hesitation or fear or insecurity. I was going to knock this out of the park!
And he smiled. And I kept smiling. And he showed joy and happiness and fun.
I so rock at this! Look at how I saved that potential pitfall of fear and sadness. Wow. Some days I really have my shit together.
And so we waited patiently for the three weeks it takes to get into the fancy ophthalmologist’s office or optometrist or eye freaking doctor. Zoom was elated. He was going to have GLASSES, the new addition to a better him! We talked about it, laughed and shared… and I secretly rued the day I would have to buy glasses for my busy little 8 year old, who I nickname Zoom. You get that, right? Bottom line, I will be buying glasses once a week. Hopefully he doesn’t need freaking transition lenses. Because now I won’t be able to afford razor blades and eye cream.
And I feel the danger of this story getting long… that never happens to me. But zoom (not the child, the verb) ahead three weeks, and an hour and a half in the doc’s office…
Zoom has perfect eyesight.
Big sigh. Deep breath. Yoga pose. One more. Wait. What? Never mind. Xanax. And a Red Bull.
I picked up the pictures he’d drawn in the doc’s office of himself with new glasses. And looked up with that big smile on my face, from whence I’d rocked all this before. I saw his face sadden, his dreams of being a better, glass-eyed, fancy-rimmed version of his sassy self. And I said, “Wow, that’s GREAT! You don’t need glasses!” And I’m picturing the pair of fake glasses I will be buying as I leave the office. I am formulating arguments for the doctor who tells me this is not necessary. I am going to throw that fucking folder in the trash tonight. No more notes from school, damnit!
So how do you get to the next step from here? Well, let’s just say I turned the hundreds of dollars I had imagined spending on glasses that day into a video game binge. Instead of the folder portal, we bought the portal to Skylanders… Didn’t know what that was until that day… nor how expensive that shit is. Seriously, what the hell? Can’t we make a portal like that at home? I feel like… Alright, I won’t go off on that right now.
But I will say this… As parents we have the most amazing sense of power in our children’s lives. We truly don’t realize it all the time. But at that moment when I became acutely aware that my child was looking to me for the emotion he was supposed to feel at knowing he needed glasses was overwhelming. I realized how often that must happen, and wonder how often I miss it. It matters who I am. It matters what I show them when I respond to things. So obviously, I should just talk less and write more. They can read about me someday when they find out I have a website where I talk about them.
I felt this awesome sense of responsibility. And I realized I had responded too quickly. The obvious next lesson is that the piece of paper from school didn’t actually mean he had to get glasses. And his best friend at school’s mom gave me the same story. So clearly, Zoom and friend were fucking around during the eye test, and I didn’t need to call it glasses but rather an eye test. Look at me over-reacting! That’s never happened before either! So good to look out for in the future. Big sigh 2.
OK, so now to wrap this up. Glasses are expensive, especially when you don’t buy them… because you have to buy other things, that might be more expensive. And did you know there are like 3 million Skylanders to continue to buy? Never jump to conclusions in the mode of preparing your child for something that may or may not happen. There’s more to that lesson, but I’ll let you figure it out. I’m headed to yoga now. I am going to learn to breathe and work on impulse control.
You get back to whatever it is you’re doing, and we’ll meet again in a few weeks. And yes, you’re welcome. I am happy to share.