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The Second Time I Got To See

When I was three years old, I started wearing glasses. I can remember my nursery school teachers explaining to me how to read the chart as to which way the sailboat was pointing. Truth be told, I couldn't even see a sailboat.

For all intents and purposes, I was blind as a bat. I could see shapes and colors, but the world had no detail for me. One eye was crossing inward and the other was working overtime to compensate without the advantage of any real strength.

My Mother told me that when she was told that I needed glasses, she broke into tears.

She felt so bad that when they brought me to the eye doctor and dilated my eyes, she bought me a chocolate ice cream cone while we waited for the medicine to take effect. As I ate it, I had a tough time finding my mouth, and I can remember my mother's eyes welling up with tears as she broke into laughter at the sight of her little boy's face covered in chocolate ice cream.

She held back her tears for most of the day, and even took me out for McDonald's that evening, as french fries like ice cream salve all wounds.

As we were driving home, me in my new coke bottle glasses that made me look like Professor Liverwurst, she said I became excited, and my mouth dropped open. I said something to the effect that all the trees had leaves. I had never seen a leaf on a tree before that night, and my mother burst into tears.

She cried because she did not know how much of the world I had missed with my diminished sight and felt responsible. She cried because I had never seen a strand of hair or star in the sky to that point in my life. She cried because I had never seen the whiskers on my cat or the cartoons on TV. I had missed it all, and she realized through her tears, what a gift I had been given with a pair of glasses.

I can only imagine what she would have said, when I told her that I was ADHD for 43 years and no one knew it.

A younger woman might have cried, while her older sensibilities would likely have stifled the tears in lieu of anger. Anger at all the wasted years of diminished awareness.

In many ways, my childhood blindness was only partially cured by glasses. I missed so much of the world due to my alt-wired brain that I can only shake my head in awe at how much of my life I missed.

And while I could carry the anger, my mother would likely have felt had she lived to see my new self emerge from the fog of executive dysfunction, I cannot help but feel somewhat lucky. I was given the gift of sight not once, but twice in my life.

I first saw leaves when I was 3, and forty years later, I learned to see how those leaves made me feel. Not everyone gets to see the world anew twice. I'm just lucky, I guess.

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