I've needed glasses for exactly 75% of my life (yes, I figured it out to the month). I got them when I was 9 (feel free to do the math to figure out how old I am), no more than a kid. And exactly how much of those glorious, carefree pre-glasses years I actually remember probably can't be known, but I'd say not a whole lot compared to the rest of my life. What I'm getting at here is that for almost as long as I can remember, I have needed glasses. And it's been a defining trait in who I am for, well, a long long time.
It began in third grade. I sat on the front row of the class, but it wasn't that close to the board because there was a table in front of me. My teacher would write the spelling words for the week on the board and we would copy them down to study them at home. She told anyone in the back of the class that couldn't see the words to come sit at the table while they copied them down. I couldn't see the words. But I was on the front row already and I was extremely shy, so usually I would just squint and do my best at making out the words. Sometimes I went up to the table, but most of the time it was way too embarrassing. It never dawned on me that glasses could fix this problem. I was 9 after all. Well, as it was, I went through at least half of that year copying the spelling words down wrong, studying them at home wrong and then getting them wrong on my test. That's probably why I still have to think twice when spelling certain words. It must have been so gradual that I didn't notice and neither did anyone else.
That summer, my mom religiously dragged all the kids to the eye doctor for our yearly eye exam. But this time, I needed glasses. The first kid in the family. One of the first kids in my class. I guess I was a little surprised that I even needed them. But then, all the missed spelling words and squinting in class made sense. I picked out a pair of gray plastic glasses that my mom claims were the most expensive ones in the shop (which I find very hard to believe judging by how ugly they were, but apparently in style then). A couple of weeks later, we went to pick them up. I still remember the drive home because I was amazed at everything I saw. Trees had individual leaves. Grass had little blades. And spelling words were probably going to have individual letters.
I wore that pair for two years. I can't find my elementary school pictures, but here's a shot of my first pair.
Oh, there is a funny story about my 8th grade self going to a follow up appointment with the ophthalmologist. I guess both my parents had something else going on that day, so they told me to take the city bus from my middle school to his down town office. I was a responsible kid so I was pretty sure I could handle this. I got on the bus fine, but then I fell asleep. When I woke up and saw the street sign, I panicked because I thought I had passed it. I was supposed to go to 400 S. and for some reason in my sleepy state I thought I was going to 4000 S. I got off at 2000 S. and walked 20 blocks in the wrong direction trying to find the office... alone, in a strange area of town, as a 13 year old girl, before cell phones! I finally found an office that let me use their phone to call my dad. So... not quite as responsible as ya thought, apparently.
This was by far my favorite school picture (I sure loved 8th grade). It makes me wonder why I didn't just take off my glasses in all the other pictures. But, I was never without my glasses... ever. It was part of me and it never even crossed my mind to take them off.
I went on my mission wearing a wire pair like this and wore them the whole time with little incident. There was this one time though... I'm still not sure I fully understand the garbage situation in Argentina. In one area they filled grocery bags with garbage and threw them in ditches or in the canal. In another area they had people collecting garbage but not from cans. People still used grocery bags but put them in these wire baskets perched on posts. So like a mail box but for garbage. Anyway, I was walking along a street looking at something on the other side of the street, so my head was turned. When I turned back, I instantly rammed into one of these garbage baskets with my glasses--hard. I suppose it was my glasses that saved me from injuring my eye, but it was such a hard hit that I completely scratched one of the lenses. I wore them scratched for the rest of my mission (probably a good 8 months). But I wasn't fazed by it, you should have seen some of the clothes I wore. This is one of my mission pictures.
A close up of my "modone" glasses.
Miraculously, I started dating lots of different guys... even though I was wearing glasses. This was a point in my life that I gained more confidence in myself and realized that glasses didn't matter as much as I once thought (although I still didn't like them). After a couple years of this I finally met Jared and got engaged... all while wearing glasses. I know, Jared fell in love with me with my glasses. Weird. But, I'd always had it in the back of my mind that I never wanted to get married in glasses. If I had to wear contacts for one day, then so be it. I went back to the same ophthalmologist (who was like 80 at this point) to find out if I would be able to wear disposable contacts, since technology was better now. He cleared me and I began wearing disposable contacts. No glasses on my wedding day! A broken nose 2 weeks before, yes, but no glasses.
A year ago when I was building Marissa's bed, I was using my glasses as eye protection while cutting. One of the saws left lots of sawdust on my glasses and I wiped them off with my shirt thinking it would just wipe off like dust did. Instead, it scratched up my lenses really bad. No fixing that. But since I knew I wanted LASIK, I saw no point in getting a new pair of glasses, even if it was 11 months away. This was probably worse looking that the scratch I had on my mission, but you get used to it and nobody ever mentioned it. They probably just thought they looked dirty all the time.
Thank you technology! Thank you Jared and my parents for helping to pay for it. I love my new eyes!