April 10, 2016

For the little girl with the eye patch.

Dear little girl at Chik-fil-a with the pink, leopard eye patch,

First of all, you totally rocked it. I watched you playing with your grandma and that patch didn't seem to faze you at all. I wish I could have said the same for myself at your age when I had to wear one of those things. My patch was black and in the 80s, being a pirate wasn't quite as cool as it is now.

Actually, my grandma would let me sneak and not wear my patch when I was at her house, especially when we were playing Barbies.

I'm not sure why you have to wear a patch over your eye. The reason I had to wear one was my eye was lazy, which also caused one lens of my glasses to be much thicker than the other. The problem with telling a kindergartner that she has a lazy eye is she doesn't have the wisdom or wherewithal to understand that it isn't some kind of pronouncement about you as a person. Having a lazy eye doesn't make the rest of a person lazy.

I have spent the past 30 years trying to prove that. Why they couldn't have called it a butterfly eye or a mermaid eye or something without such a negative connotation is beyond me.

Maybe soon you won't have to wear the patch anymore. Perhaps you'll have identical twin pairs of plastic glasses, one pink and the other purple, just like mine were. I hope a boy in the 2nd grade doesn't call you "big eyes" because the magnification is so strong.

If your glasses slide down, go ahead and push them right back up, whether with your finger or by wiggling your nose. This is how I've coped for years, causing my family to coin a term for my nose-wiggle-glasses-pushing maneuver..."the snurl."

Sadly, you'll probably never get to know Molly, a bespectacled, but now discontinued member of the American Girl doll family. She might not have had frizzy hair like me, but her fate of having to wear glasses all the while planting a victory garden and staying positive in the face of World War 2 made me feel like I, too, could overcome hard things.

Contacts can be a good option, maybe in the 5th grade when your parents think you are mature enough to care for them properly.

But maybe you'll move to another town for college, a place where the air quality is terrible and your allergies act up and you can't wear contacts anymore.

You just might find that glasses aren't such a bad option after all, what with all the new styles available.

I hope you find someone to love, who loves you and doesn't care that your eyes are sometimes hidden behind thick lenses. And maybe one evening, you'll absentmindedly leave your glasses at home, and your sweetheart will keep looking at your over and over saying, "what is different?" And finally he or she will realize that you look different because for once, you aren't wearing your glasses.

"I kind of like that you aren't wearing your glasses because it lets me see your pretty eyes," he will say. "But I like it when you wear your glasses too." 

It won't be an issue. But clearly, it already isn't because you seem to be doing just fine. And so am I.