Seeing Clearly

It was September 2011 when I got a call from my wife telling me we had to take Grace to what’s popularly referred to as The Castle — Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls — because she had broken a bone near her elbow. That was quite a memorable night for all of us; Bec got to spend the night with Grace in the hospital, and I got to share a hotel room with Zachary.

Looking back, that mini-extravaganza should have been an omen of things to come. Grace is turning out to be an expensive child — though, of course, we wouldn’t have her any other way.

The broken bone was just the beginning. Last summer, in the culmination of what had long been inevitable, Grace got braces. I never knew braces could happen at age 8, but one almost literally learns something new every day when it comes to parenting. Hopefully they’ll come off sometime next year, but it could very well be longer.

Then, a few weeks ago, our beloved daughter started telling us that her vision was starting to get a little blurry. At first, Bec and I were in a bit of denial; it is not uncommon, after all, for Grace to manufacture some type of ailment in an apparent effort to attract sympathy/attention. But then a note came home from school that recommended a trip to an eye doctor, and the result was the purchase of a pair of prescription eyeglasses.

This should not have been a shocking development. I got my first pair of glasses at age 9; so did my wife. Maybe it’s still hard to admit that Grace has gotten old enough for these types of things. Wasn’t she born just the other day?

The nicest thing about these big changes in Grace’s life — the braces, then the glasses — is that she has continually faced such new hurdles with enthusiasm and excitement. She couldn’t wait to pick out new frames, and spent (no surprise) a fairly decent amount of time doing it. Grace is definitely a selective shopper when it comes to nearly everything, and I often struggle to remain patient while final decisions repeatedly remain elusive. Zach doesn’t need glasses — not yet, anyway — but he’d picked out a pair of cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles frames in comparative milliseconds. (He was Leonardo, naturally).

Zach looked a little bit older with specs on, and so did Grace when the new glasses showed up Tuesday night. I must admit they’re pretty stylish, too, though “style” is not something I always have a good sense of. Nevertheless, there is a 9-year-old who can’t wait to go to school and show everyone the newest important part of her life — and I suppose that’s a great thing, price tag and all.