One way to fix the failures is to wipe the tears and start right where you are with what you have. I have had to do just that this past week. If I sit around crying, nothing will be accomplished. I don't have time to waste, and if I cry a bucket of tears it won't change the situation. The only way I can change it is first, learn from my mistake, and second, start NOW.
Our youngest child is very smart. He learned his shapes, colors, and letters VERY quickly. It was almost effortless to teach him these things. Towards the end of his fourth year, I started to teach him to read. I quickly realized that there was something terribly wrong. He wasn't grasping any of it. I assumed that I had just gone too fast and I went back to working with large flash cards. I assumed that he just didn't like to sit still because he could only work for about 5 minutes at a time. I wondered if he might need medicine to help him, but truth be told he wasn't out of control. He just wasn't interested. He had never colored a picture, and he didn't like to play with small toys. He would beg for us to buy him a hotwheel car, but he NEVER played with them for more than a few minutes at a time. I assumed he was just a boy, and that he would grow into these activities with some time.
At the beginning of the new year, I decided to start working on his school with more effort. Again, to no avail. He KNEW the letters and the sounds. He could read them if I put words on flashcards and played games with him. The minute we switched to reading the same words from a real book, he wasn't interested AT ALL. He couldn't do it. I was so confused. He would sit still for me to read to him for hours, but he NEVER would pick up a book to look at the pictures by himself. We invited a family out to have lunch and enjoy the farm with us several months ago. This family has two little boys and after listening to her story, it confirmed some suspicions that I had concerning Seth. I made the appointment that afternoon.
Last week, we finally got an appointment at the eye doctor. I was devastated with the diagnosis. Seth was having a horrible time seeing. This goes way beyond getting a pair of glasses to correct his eye sight. There are muscle issues as well. Apparently by age 8, a child's muscle leading from the eye to the brain is at a fixed point. As with any muscle, if you don't use it you lose it applies. Seth's vision was so poor that his muscle quit generating images from his left eye. He just let his right eye take over and his left eye hasn't been functioning much. We have about 3 years to try to stimulate the muscle into functioning again. Along with the muscle issue, he also has a vision issue. He is terribly far sighted, and they can't make his prescription any stronger. If he where driving age, he wouldn't be allowed to drive even with his glasses because he doesn't see well enough. For the first time, everything was making sense with this child, and I felt like a failure as a mother. Why didn't I see it? Why didn't I put two and two together? As a mom and a teacher, I should have known better. I should have caught this several years ago. I felt like a failure for my child.
We went yesterday and picked up his new glasses. It was hard to see my little man with such thick glasses on his face. I was told that if an adult had this strong of a prescription, they would probably be throwing up within 30 minutes. They told me to watch him going up and down stairs. We went home and immediately he started asking questions that told me just how much he hadn't seen before now. He colored his first picture yesterday. He told him that he only got out of the lines 3 times. He took about 30 minutes working on his picture, and it was obvious he was proud of his accomplishment. With each new thing, I am so thankful, but I also feel that horrible guilt trying to creep up on me. I sat this morning at the kitchen table, and I felt the tears pour out of my own eyes as I watched him color. I know crying doesn't help so I take the moment that I wipe my eyes dry to remind myself that the Lord is bigger than all of this. He can take our mistake and turn it into good.
Our prayer is that Seth's muscles will start to function properly. As his muscles function better, then his vision should improve. We will spend the next few years making bi-monthly trips to the eye doctor. I covet your prayers as we walk this path with our child.
grace and peace,