Would you love someone who is flawed?
If you discovered a flaw in the one you love, would you still love them? Some would agree to love them unconditionally and some would be hesitant and ask what the flaw was, and how long was the relationship in question. However, as a parent you would not want your child to have any deficiency or be flawed.
When my son was born, everyone said he was a replica of me. He had my eyes, my lips. When he started developing, he shared with me a similar taste in food, the tone in which we talked, the attitude. It could have been because I am with him 24/7; he may have developed the same mannerisms. However much I was happy that I had a mini me close by, I wished he didn’t have my flaws.
I have glasses. My husband and I had discussed this. We had expected that since I am the one who needs glasses to be worn every waking hour, it could be that our son also would develop the need for glasses. I secretly prayed to the Almighty – make him my mirror but don’t give him my eyes. I felt confident, because I felt his immunity and his metabolism was more generic to his father.
But I was wrong.
Recently my son developed a squint, and we got it checked as soon as we felt that it was regular. My ophthalmologist was very patient and played all sorts of games with him to keep him occupied so that she could do the testing; he hated the eye drops that were required in order to get an accurate reading. Also, since he is just four years old, and mischievous, he was not reading the alphabets on the eye test board correctly. I could see that he was mistaking B for D and vice versa. My worst fear was confirmed. He was going to need spectacles.
I recollected a friend of mine who was paranoid about her daughter wearing glasses and how she made sure that her daughter had carrots every day. She was fearful and didn’t want her daughter to be flawed. I don’t blame her. After all, people are known to discriminate about religion, sex, color. So what was one more discrimination factor – against someone wearing glasses! However I wondered how she would have handled something like this. She would have been devastated.
My son is a shy child, so I was apprehensive that with the spectacles he would now be shyer to mingle. I got the prescribed glasses made within two days as his school would begin the coming week and I wanted him to get used to them by then. Those two days, both my husband and I were anxious. We started thinking of ways to make him accept the glasses. I tried to keep on reminding him that now he would be exactly like mommy, secretly cursing myself at the same time. We didn’t want to think of how his school friends would react to his new look. Would they make fun of him, would they make him conscious? Kids can be cruel that way. Our parental instinct to protect him was at its peak.
So finally he got his glasses and I went with him to the optician. He obviously refused to wear them and since my husband was going to pick us up I stood there on the pavement talking to him about them. I said “Let’s surprise Daddy with your new glasses”. And after some coaxing, he agreed. So when Daddy came, he yelled “Surprise” and got into the car. And that’s how he started wearing glasses.
On the ride back home, he said he wanted pizza and Ice-cream. We obviously didn’t want to disappoint, so we agreed and I made pizza at home with a little help from him. That evening he kept on coming to us and saying that he didn’t want to wear the glasses. We tried to convince him by telling him that his aunt, his cousins, his mom all wore glasses. We told him that he had to wear glasses now while watching TV. Finally, we told him that if he did not wear them, we would have to go back to the doctor who put those eye drops! That did the trick and he started wearing them throughout the evening.
This was one of those days when I wished I could pick up the phone and just talk to Mom and ask her how I had coped. And what needed to be done next. While we were getting ready for bed, and I was sorting my mail, my son quietly came to me and asked “Mummy, how do I wear it?” (Kem pervanu). That melted my heart, and I couldn’t stop the tears. My son was growing up and he was adjusting to the spectacles. I told him that he had to look through them, not tilt his head and try not to look from above or below the glasses. I looked into those brown eyes and told him “See look at mummy, straight ahead.“ And just like that, he accepted them.
Tomorrow is a new day. He may wake up and not want to wear it. We will again have to coax him to wear it. And when he starts his new term in school there will be even more challenges. But I think for now, I need to appreciate the fact that my son is healthy (Touchwood) and he didn’t have to undergo any painful tests or any deadly diseases like so many children go through. I need to appreciate his flaw the way he has appreciated mine. I realized that while he grows up, he was going to have a lot more behavioral changes that we need to get adapted to as well. So, yes, tomorrow I would love my son with his flaws as I would love my husband as he ages.
As parents we are constantly learning the true meaning of Love and Acceptance.
14th March 2014.