What does it mean to see?

I’ve been thinking about my son even more often than usual. He just had one of those big birthdays. The kind with a zero that seems like a big deal for moms, too.

I’ve also been thinking about vision a lot, possibly because I learned a lot about vision from Dave.

He was five months old the first time I took him to the eye doctor because he wasn’t growing out of the wandering eyed baby thing.

Then there was surgery at about 17 months to deal with an eye muscle attachment condition. He upchucked his post-op Gator-ade all down my back and we headed home, tired and smelly and on the road to a whole new world. He immediately began to walk more steadily, feed himself more easily, and enjoy all the little doors and windows and pop-up gizmos on his vast collection of Fisher Price wonders.

Things began to get more complicated again when he started kindergarten. His teacher kept fussing at him for making purple trees. I assured him that his purple trees were awesome and that, at home, he could make any color trees he chose.

Then I tried to explain that his teacher wanted him to learn to follow directions, as well as draw trees, and so – while he was at school – it would probably be best to humor her and make the trees green.

You guessed it!

It was two more years before his eye doctor realized he was color blind.

He also had peripheral vision and depth perception challenges.

There was another eye surgery along the way, and quite the conversation when it came time for him to want to drive.

A new eye doctor checked his vision for about two hours and then assured me that, if Dave were his son, he would, indeed, let him drive.

Blessedly, Dave did great, after he figured out the relationship between where he was sitting and where the wheels were on the car.

I guess these adventures weren’t too big a surprise. I’ve been decidedly nearsighted since I was a child. One of my clearest early memories is leaving the eye doctor’s office with my first pair of glasses perched on my nose and being amazed to discover that I could see – that anyone could see – individual leaves on trees!

Then there’s Dave’s 4-footed brother, Luther. This big guy had limited vision when he came to us and, eventually, as far as his eye doctor could determine, lost all his sight. Because of a degenerative condition that was causing him pain, we made the decision to have his eyes surgically removed last May.

The biggest challenge was keeping him from rubbing his face while his suture lines were healing.

I’m grateful that, as he became pain free, he began to find his own spirit more and more, after his traumatic past. Today, he and Phoebe are official Studio Angels, always ready to greet friends and help paint. (That’s Phoebe on duty in the photo.)

I’ll admit to clinging a bit to what I’ve learned along the way from beloved beings like Dave and Luther while I’m flipping on lights all over the house and adding glaucoma eye drops to my bedtime routine.

My fix-it wizard friend, Greg, arrived today to install lots more lights in the studio. It’s an LED miracle!

A miracle that reminds me of inner vision, as well.

And that reminds me, in these days, of a mythical guy named Toby Ziegler, Director of Communications on The West Wing.

Way back in the first season (episode 12 for you Netflix and YouTube folks) Toby was working on the second State of the Union address and he convinced President Bartlet to take the risk of standing up in front of the nation and proclaiming that, “Government can be a place where nobody gets left behind.”

That, and, “Babies come with hats!” are probably Toby’s two greatest lines.

I’m for seeing like that!


Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach