Saturday, April 14, 2012


I put in my contacts this morning for my sons.  There was a time when I wore my contacts every, every day: from the time Mom bought me my first pair until June 9, 2009, when I woke to the sound of my almost-three-year-old washing my contacts down the drain.

"Mommy," he announced, grinning.  "I cleaned this for you."

As he held the now empty contact case up for my inspection, I promptly forgot it was my ninth wedding anniversary.  C'est la vie.  The little one was nonplussed when I wore my glasses now that he had made me contact-less, but the older one was very unhappy.

"Take them off, Mommy," he pleaded.  "Just take them off."

After the third or fourth time, I finally asked him, "Why?"

"Because you're nicer without them."

It had never really dawned on me before that I only wore my glasses when I was sick or tired.  Unless my allergies had caused my eyes to swell or my level of exhaustion had reached the eye-twitch stage, I stubbornly wore my contacts.

In recent years, my eczema on my hands had increased to the point that getting my contacts in and out was painful.  So I've spent the last two years in glasses.  But the eczema is now under control, and when this last week headed south, I decided to break out the contacts.

See, that's the other side of my personality.  At some point, when the going just gets rotten, I break out the contacts, the good clothes, and the makeup, if not the curling iron.  Life may have a sucky moment, but I will face it in style.  Okay, my sense of style could never really be called "style," but you get the picture.

So this not-so-lovely week spent rallying from two highly anxious children coping with routine changes and on the rebound from the stomach flu spurred me to rethink my corrective lens choices.  Somewhere between the biting and the howling, between nightmares and hissy fits, I popped in my contacts, broke out my designer jeans, for which I paid $13 on sale but which are still designer, and slathered mascara on my upper lashes all the while trying to ignore the panda-like bags hanging out below the lower ones.

But when the little one crawled into my bed sobbing this morning and the big one began screaming, banging doors, and barricading his room with blankets, pillows, and child-sized folding chairs, I began to think this day might just be too much for anything but sweats.  I slid my glasses on, pushed them up my nose, and, after breaking into the room with the big one, announced that I would be downstairs waiting for him to calm down and clean up.  Before I could even turn, he had seized my legs with both his hands and feet in one of his koala hugs.

"Don't leave me again!" he wailed.

I resisted the urge to ask him when I left him the last time and instead decided on, "Then stop hitting and screaming."

He released my knees, and I crouched down to his level.  Did I ever mention that, unlike the many Asians I know, I am a very unsteady croucher?  The big one seized my neck in a giant hug and tipped me clean over.  Nose to nose, he gazed into my eyes and removed my glasses.

"You're a better mommy without glasses," he told me.

And so, children fed, room reassembled, and clothes laid out, I stood in front of the mirror and poked those wiggly circles onto my corneas.

If it makes me a better mommy, it's worth a try.

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