I am currently feeling like I have totally failed my daughter as a mother. I know this is irrational, but it’s how I’m feeling, so there you go.
We just got back from the eye doctor. My 4 year old daughter had a check up because my husband and I noticed over the last 2 months that her left eye seems to be a little “lazy” when she’s tired. So we took the first appointment we could get with the eye doctor. The lazy eye was freaking me out because we’ve never seen an inkling of abnormality with her eyes until just recently. I mean, would you get freaked out if your child suddenly developed a lazy eye? My drama-queenness hasn’t helped the situation either because all I kept thinking about was how, “oh great, my kid is going to be the nose-picking, googly-eyed kid the other ones pick on and how can I help keep her from becoming a social pariah?”.
I mean, we all want the best for our kids. And suddenly I feel like its my job to make sure she has friends and confidence in herself when I know those are things she needs to find for herself. Can you imagine if your parents had tried to help you make friends? I would’ve died of mortification. So I can’t do that to my daughter.
The eye doctor informed us that my daughter is “extremely farsighted”. And her lazy eye has developed because of intense strain she’s been putting on her eyes when trying to focus on things that are right in front of her. My feeling of failure stems from this question: how did I miss this? Why did I not put two and two together over the last 4 years? When she was being clumsy, not showing interest in learning letters or writing, making up stories instead of telling me about the pictures in the books we read together, when I’d ask her to pick something specific up off the floor and she’d act like, um, she COULDN”T SEE IT!! Why didn’t that alarm bell go off in my head during any of these incidents? And here I was, all this time, getting frustrated with my poor, vision-impaired child because I thought she was just being clumsy and difficult. Now I’m sitting here feeling like a jerk. A jerk who should have paid more attention to these warning signs and could have prevented her daughter from developing a lazy eye.
My only answer to myself with all these questions I have is that I didn’t want to see that something was actually wrong. I never thought my daughter could have an actual impairment beyond an attitude problem with her mother. Maybe I’ve just been seeing what I wanted to see, a perfectly healthy, spirited child whose creativity kept her from wanting to follow someone else’s directions. And now I’m hoping she’ll still be all those things, just with glasses.