Monday, October 25, 2010

Raising Clark Kent

It's official. I will not be getting the mother-of-the-year award this year. I knew I might be out of the running when my first grader failed his vision test with the school nurse last week, but I was still kind of hopeful, you know. All hopes went right out the window when he couldn't identify any of the letters on the screen at the eye doctor. I mean, seriously. What kind of mother doesn't know her child sees a fuzzy world?

Cooper and I picked out some eye glasses that same afternoon. I liked the wire-rimmed glasses, but he had his heart set on the thicker brown ones. He is such a little guy, so almost every pair looked sweet. When I said the brown ones made him look just like Clark Kent right before he turns into Superman, the deal was sealed. Cooper "Clark Kent" Feeler had his first pair of readers on order.

The first seed of doubt started to creep in when I relayed the story to my husband. He could not believe I let our son have the final say on glasses. A bad choice in glasses could be devastating, he said. Then he relayed his own personal tale of picking out blue-tinted lenses for his red-rimmed glasses in elementary school. He never did recover. I started to panic. Forget the guilt of your kid not seeing. The possibility of my kid being picked on raised my anxious mother meter to a whole new level.

Had I, like my husband claimed, been looking at him through warm mother's eyes versus the critical lenses of cruel kids on the playground? Would he be teased for not only wearing glasses, but for our choice of thicker rims that are common in every newsroom around the country? Is there no place for a unique "super hero" in this world?

Cooper wore his glasses for the first time tonight. Holy smokes, he said, everything looks so huge. He was giddy. I just kept staring at him all night because he looks so different. It's the same crooked smile and bright eyes alright, but the glasses change his whole look. I keep wondering what the kids will say tomorrow at school. Will his world dip down because of what he looks like instead of rising up because he can finally see the beauty in the world?

My hope is that his independence in choosing for himself will override the small hurts that will inevitably come his way. Life is not always kind, but it can still be good. I also pray he can survive a mother that is clueless about mothering, but still loves him unabashedly and unconditionally. There's no perfection in this mother. Isn't that right, Clark Kent?

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