Every morning I wake to the soft click of the alarm clock as it starts its morning ritual of spinning the disc of my husband’s favorite songs. Every morning I think, “I need to find a new CD to put in there” but as I roll over and hit the off button that thought is forgotten as I look at the clock. At that moment, everyday, I realize how lucky I am to have a pair of glasses waiting for me on the bedside stand. As I squint and strain to the read the numbers I grab my glasses so I can make out the soft green glow of time.
Putting on my glasses has been a morning ritual since I was 8 and still today, 28 years later, it continues to surprise me that I can’t just wake up and go. I can still remember the day I got my first pair of glasses. I was six. I was so excited to pick them out and take them home in their very own soft-sided case. However, my fellow first graders were not as excited about my new glasses I was, so I spent the next two years trying my hardest not to wear them. By third grade I realized that avoiding wearing my glasses was more frustrating than the taunting of wearing them. By that time I also needed a new prescription. With two years of wisdom under my tiny belt, I went to pick out new frames. Although I was less enthusiastic, I was armed with a newly found confidence and determination. As my mom drove me home, I still remember looking out the window and being shocked that I could see the leaves on the passing trees. I had never seen the leaves of tress from far away; they had always been grand, swaying trunks of green fluff. I had no idea that that day would shape who I would become and how I would look at the world. From that day, I started doing better in school and, although slowly, I gained self-assurance.
As I reflect on my own self-discovery and access to clearer vision I find it ironic that what I remember is how personally hard it was for me. Growing up I never thought how easy it was to get glasses or for my parents to buy glasses that I didn’t even wear. My inconvenience is not seeing the clock in the morning but to others it might be not seeing the chalk board in school or being able to read a book or use a computer or work in the profession they dream. Good eyesight is something that can easily be taken for granted (if you have it). This is why I believe that good eyesight is a gift and my hope is that everyone can have access to eye care so they too can live their lives in a productive, meaningful and happy way.