(Quite Literally) Reading Between the Lines

22 Jan

In honor of #tbt (that’s Throw-Back Thursday) we are bringing back some of our (and your!) favorite pieces, many of them updated with new pics! Enjoy!

I spent the last four or five months worrying, losing sleep and praying to find a reason for the headaches, dizzy spells and accompanying stomach aches Ben kept having. Though they were real enough to him, I was fearful that they were a sign of either anxiety or some underlying disease lurking around.

When the ‘symptoms’ started, I brushed them aside, as I usually do. Thirteen years of coaching and 20 years of managing a cheer staff found me somewhat unsympathetic to injuries and illnesses and of that, I’m not terribly proud. On my team, I would tell someone to get up after a fall because it didn’t look all that serious and although she would continue to practice, she’d come back to school the next day in a cast (bad coach). On a recent ski trip with friends, Ben was having a dizzy spell and though I brushed it off once again, my good and sympathetic friend came in, put her cheek to his forehead and announced a fever (bad mom). Needless to say, I still haven’t gotten it right.

Still, during these past several months, we went to the pediatrician twice, the emergency room once, and had a house call from our good friend, an ENT, who came by to check out Ben’s sinuses. With the exception of one slight and quick concussion (resulting from a friendly in-house football game) which had no lingering effects, we had a healthy kid. We even spoke with Ben’s counselor to see if anything at all was going on in school that we should be concerned about. He missed a few days during this time and sometimes called to have me pick him up because of not feeling well. His counselor reported nothing negative at all – good student, friendly kid, all is well!

Except it wasn’t. And we couldn’t put our finger on it. My poor kid. I knew it was real to him, but not really real.

Then last week, I took the advice of a friend and finally made that eye doctor appointment I’d been putting off since Ben got his glasses three years ago (that he never wears and swears he does not need)…..

There we were, with the prettiest, nicest young optometrist (they certainly are young these days). Ben was reading the chart at the far end of the room, where I sat. He couldn’t read a damn thing. At all. He even looked at me (I was surprised at that point he could even find me at the other end of the room!!) and mouthed ‘tell me what that is’ (I didn’t).

The pretty young doctor explained that Ben’s eyes were not terrible by any stretch, but his prescription had tripled in three years. Worse, though, was that there was such a discrepancy between his eyes that she explained would be like wearing a flip flop on one foot and a four-inch heel on the other. That, and did he have any kind of growth spurt? (Did he ever – Ben grew 6 or 7 inches this past year!) Because the combination of those factors would and should cause extreme headaches and dizziness.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh or cry (I did a little of both). I admitted to Ben that I thought he either was part faking it for attention (that one didn’t get a very good reaction from my son), part going crazy (he laughed at me) and only a little part real (that also didn’t get a very positive reaction from him) and that I was losing a whole lot of sleep over it (to which he said something about maybe that being the reason I was looking so old these days – payback!). He got a lot of distance out of it letting me know that once again, the Mother of the Year Award was going to someone else.

So, Ben was fitted for contacts and we were on our way. (I should, however, get Mother of the Year, for keeping my cool and being a supportive, patient mom every single morning as he tries for 15 or 20 minutes to put them in. And that’s just for one eye.) I no longer have to sneak into his room at night and make sure he’s breathing or quietly write emails to his counselor to see what’s wrong.

My poor kid couldn’t see….makes me think of all the stories from people through the years about the times we don’t ‘get’ our kids. You know, like, when you realize they’ve been crying when you put their shoes on them and think they’re just being obnoxious but then you discover they’ve outgrown their shoes by 2 sizes? Or when they fall and bang their arm and by the next week when you finally check it out you realize you’ve let your son walk around with a broken arm? Or when you show up for your piano lesson at 4:00 only to remember that your teacher asked you to get your son there at 3:00 that day? Or maybe you didn’t realize that baby bottles come with different nipple sizes so your kid almost starves to death until some nice person points out that you need to go up a few holes?

Okay, all those stories ‘from all the people through the years’ are actually mine. Oh, come on….don’t we all have stories like that? Anyone? Please?

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