Why every child deserves a parent with three eyes, not two
Today, I’ve had four hours of sleep, and I’m a six hours minimum kind of girl. My thirteen-year-old daughter, obviously cognizant that none of the Instagram girls wear glasses, tried wearing contacts for the first time today.
She got them in and wore them all day with success, but that evening, the nightmare started. She couldn’t get one out. She claimed that each time she attempted to move it off her eye, it suctioned itself back to her cornea.
We tried to help as good parents do. We told her to move the contact to the corner of her eye. We put in saline. Moisturizing eye drops. Flaxseed eye drops. We told her to massage her eyelid. We massaged her eyelid and probably against medical advice, proceeded to put our own fingers in her eye, and try to pull the offending contact off.
We told her to endure the pain of touching her eye and manipulating the contact, stating that it was the only way she was going to be able to remove it.
Still, nothing worked.
Her eye looked as red as a blazing sun, the irritated vessels reminiscent of scarlet streaks of lightening.
Even though her eighteen-year-old brother’s highly attractive friend was there at the time, I saw the gentle quivering of her lips, the bulging tears glimmer in the happy eye as we tried to resolve the issue.
I literally felt her pain. Each tug and each sting traveled through my veins as if my own eyes were connected to hers.
We took her to the doctor, and on the way, I watched her try to maneuver the transparent invader out of place, even though streams of tears ran from both eyes. She knew it would cost a lot to go to this appointment, and times had been tough financially. She apologized frequently between sighs of pain.
When she got there, they weighed her. One hundred and fifty pounds. About thirty pounds too much for a girl her age. And I knew this meant at least thirty snide comments, one cruel taunt for each pound over her slender friends.
But she only talks about these things at her most vulnerable, when she simply cannot hold the pain in another minute.
For example, she once told me that her “friends” had told her to change her avatar because it wasn’t fat enough.
So when she stood there, looking at the number on the scale, my heart broke once more.
I saw the heckling in my mind, the snide comments she doubtless heard when she walked the school hallways, the way her heart in those moments must have felt as sharp and jagged as the blood-red veins that now stained her beautiful green eyes.
Once again, I was immersed in pain, as if some magic unseen portal connected her heart to mine.
And as the doctor numbed her eye and quickly pulled the object of suffering out, I also felt her relief. As if the lifting of her pain had liberated me from my sorrow as well.
But in this minor crisis, I saw my future as a parent. And I realized that all parents who love their children have not two eyes, but three. And that third eye is the projector of all our children’s hopes, dreams, and despair. It sees a child’s present sorrows and envisions the future world of pain that he or she will inevitably face in this often cruel and miserable world.
It sees the cruel ways that one human word or action can crush a spirit. It sees the pain of loving someone who won’t love you back. It sees the pain of loving someone and then losing them to sickness, accident, or any of a thousand cruel maneuvers of fate.
And this third eye of every parent is heavy. It wants to close, to be rid of the images, to imagine their child as they were at the height of happiness, two years old, splashing water in the baby pool as a glorious coral sun sparkled on the water of their skin.
But every good parent also knows we must leave the painful contact in because it allows us the power to ease the suffering when it comes to windswept tides that threaten to tear our children’s happiness away.
So we endure the pain. We need to see. Even if it hurts every second of every day. Because no child should ever have only two eyes to see the world. They need a third one to steer them in the right direction when the world has shattered their vision.
And I will be that third eye. Because it’s my job. Because it’s the weight of a parent’s love. And I will bear the burden of those blood-red eyes so that my daughter can see clearly that beyond the unavoidable hurt and misery that is allotted to each member of humanity, there will be joy and love and ecstasy to wash the pain away.