The Genetic Burden


So, Vivian needs glasses.

This should not be a surprise. Given her family history (I really need glasses, as do my parents, and both Erin and her mother have glasses), it would frankly have been a shock if Vivian didn’t need glasses. Still, it was a disquieting experience seeing Vivian struggle to read the eye chart at the optometrist. Other than a few comments about “I think I might need glasses” and “sometimes the board looks blurry”, I hadn’t really thought that Vivian’s need was that serious or immediate. But on Friday, Vivian borrowed her mother’s glasses while we watched Stomp from the back of the Centre in the Square, and it seemed to help her see the stage. Now I’m feeling a little guilty about not seeing the signs sooner.

Vivian’s feelings about glasses are a bit mixed. She’s wanted to have glasses ever since she realized that we had something she didn’t. But she’s had second thoughts of late, worried about the reaction of her classmates. We’ve gotten a lot better about glasses since my childhood, but the fear remains. However, Vivian is bearing up, and it has been noted that she’s not the only child in the classroom with glasses. We’ll see how things go when her glasses arrive this week.

As for Nora, she flew through the optometry tests, and continues to have 20-20 vision. There may be a chance that she could get out of her childhood without glasses which, if so, would be an utter miracle. Nora’s kind of disappointed about this. Given that her sister has glasses, why can’t she get some? It’s hardly fair, and sunglasses don’t count.

I’ve tried to tell Nora that she’d be lucky — possibly the luckiest of our family if she went through life without needing glasses. I don’t mind wearing glasses per se, and I’m proud of how I turned out, even after dealing wit h the taunts of “four eyes” at school. But if laser eye surgery were cheaper, or covered under OHIP, I’d seriously consider having it. Because, in spite of how comfortable I am wearing glasses, there are still moments when I envy those with perfect vision. When I wake up, for instance, and am not able to see the world around me clearly. Or when I knock my glasses off my bedside table, and struggle to find them on the floor. Nora is blinded by the glamour. She has no idea of the chore.

The above was written earlier this week. We picked up her glasses today and, truly, she is rocking out the style. She says she’s seeing much better, now, which is a definite boon to her. She gets to introduce her glasses to her classmates tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes.

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