I have a blind spot about vision.
When I was a child I liked to help my grandmother by threading her needles. She'd praise my eyesight and I'd feel happy. It never occurred to me that she really needed my help because she couldn't see the small hole herself. I thought it was the coordination of her hands, and it made sense that my small fingers could push the thread through the tiny opening more easily than her older, arthritic ones.
In my early teens I was called "Laura sharp-eyes." I was not a hunter and did not shoot, but I earned my position as the only girl allowed in the duck blind because I was always the first to spot the ducks overhead or on the move.
All the men in my family wore heavy tortoiseshell glasses, but the women didn't need them. I thought this was a fixed state. Then my mother started to ask me to look up numbers in the phone book for her or decipher the ingredients in a recipe. Does this say tablespoons or teaspoons? This is hard to admit, but I thought she was being lazy. I'd do it, grudgingly, but it never occurred to me that she actually couldn't see. Now I know better.
My eyes started to fail right on schedule in my mid-forties, but it took me several years to fully register the change. I noticed I was not reading as much at night in bed, but I attributed it to being tired from a hard job. The truth was I wasn't reading as much because it was harder for me to see the print.
Finally a trip to the ophthalmologist made it clear. The eye chart had always been a snap for me to see. Now it was getting fuzzy at the bottom. The doctor was very matter-of-fact. "If you think this is bad, wait until your next check up. It gets steadily worse."
I needed reading glasses. I was surprised, but what a change. I could actually see.
In one of my favorite James Thurber stories, "The Admiral at the Wheel," the main character begins his day by stepping on his glasses. He has to negotiate the world without them for a few days, and the results are hilarious. When he finally gets his glasses repaired, the world is more predictable but far less colorful. I know how that poor character felt. The other day there was a news headline about same-sex rabbis that, without glasses, I read as same-sex rabbits.
Glasses are my new best friend. When I go off without them or lose them, I need help doing the simplest things. Yes, like reading a recipe, looking up a phone number, or threading a needle. Now I beg my children to read just one number from the phone book. Without their help, I'm lost at times. I wonder if they realize what I see is just blur or if they suspect I'm just not trying hard enough? They'll see in time.