Due to extreme prematurity, our son had eye surgery to prevent blindness. As a result of the surgery, he lost peripheral vision in his right eye. And his near sightedness would mean glasses and close monitoring by an ophthalmologist for the rest of his life.
Such a small price to pay, in our opinion, compared to the alternative.
Cody wore glasses with great pride, making it abundantly clear to his little brothers that Mommy and Daddy also wore glasses, and wasnt it a shame that they didnt have any themselves. This usually prompted a round of begging from his siblings that it was only fair they get glasses, too.
Then kindergarten happened.
One day, a couple of kids at recess derailed Codys bright outlook on having glasses in his possession. One boy said, your glasses look stupid, Cody. Another kid yanked them off his face and bent them.
Cody was a timid, small child. Seeing tears well up in his eyes, as he recounted the event, wrung our hearts dry.
Just recently though, something changed his outlook.
It was the morning of Valentines Day. I shut off the alarm and groped around in the dark until I found my glasses. I donned them and without turning on the light, blindly made my way to the bathroom. I flipped the bathroom switch, and there I discovered why it was extra dark in my bedroom.
My husband, Stephen, had placed two red heart stickers on my glasses. And plastered all over the mismatched antique mirrors above our bathroom basins were the same stickers.
VALENTINE, my husband had scrawled on one mirror, I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!
In one mirror was drawn a stick arm with a hand pointing west. And in the other mirror was the same thing pointing east. I was chuckling under my breath, so as not to wake the rest of the household, while staring at my reflection.
I penned my response in the mirror, Thanks to you, sweetie, Ive got hearts in my eyes!
While dressing Cody for school, he whispered, Mom?
Yes, big boy? I whispered back.
You got hearts on your glasses.
Yep, I sure do.
Youre funny, Mom, he said, his eyes sparkling. We both climbed into the cab of the pickup truck, where other hearts ambushed us. Stuck to the steering wheel was a heart. Another one was on the rearview mirror, on my truck key, on the stick shift, and on my wallet. All compliments of my heart?happy husband.
I peeled the hearts from my glasses and handed them to Cody. He stuck them carefully on his own glasses and smiled the whole way to school.
I parked in front of his school.
Get your book bag, sweetie, I said.
Mom, can I wear my hearts to class?
I debated it for a moment. Pulling a stunt like this could go either way. But the pleading in his eyes sealed8 it for me. How could I deny him what may turn out to be a fun opportunity?
I dont see why not, big boy.
I placed two hearts on my own glasses, and together we entered his school, hand in hand, parting the crowd in the hallway on our way to his classroom.
Ha! Look at Cody Oliver! Hes got hearts on his glasses! one observer called out.
Oh, look at Cody! How cute!shouted another, pointing and giggling.
Cody smiled shyly, gripping my hand for dear life.
When we arrived at the doorway, classmates gathered around my little guy, while I saw him trying to shake off the biggest grin Id ever seen on his face.
Thats neat! Hearts on your glasses!
Cody, can I try them on?
One little girl tugged at my sleeve. Mrs. Oliver?
I wish I had glasses.
I knew then without a doubt that Codys outlook was back on track.
Just by having hearts in his eyes.
Mom, you should put some of your things away. Baby proof this house, stated our oldest son Mark as he lumbered up the stairs followed by his wife, Kim, and fifteen-month-old Hannah.
Visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, he finished unloading the luggage and took it to the guestroom downstairs. After driving all day from Salt Lake to Ft. Collins, his temper showed. That one finger rule may work with the twins, but itll never work with Hannah, he insisted.
When my three granddaughters were born four months apart and the twins moved into our house at eight months, my close friend offered me her secret to entertaining grandchildren with few mishaps. Teach them the one finger rule. All of her five grandchildren learned it at a young age. The success of the method surprised me.
I picked up my granddaughter and said, Well, Mark, you just watch. I hugged her and walked all around the great room.
Hannah, you may touch anything in this room you want. But, you can only use one finger. I demonstrated the technique by touching my forefinger to the African sculpture on the mantle. Hannah followed my example. Good girl. Now what else would you like to touch?
She stretched her finger toward another object on the mantle. I allowed her to touch everything in sight, plants, glass objects, TV, VCR, lamps, speakers, candles and artificial flowers. If she started to grab, I gently reminded her to use one finger. She always obeyed. But, Hannah, an only child, possessed a more adventur ous personality. Her father predicted it would prevent her from accepting theone fingerrule.
During their four-day stay, we aided Hannah in rememberingone fingerrule. She learned quickly. I only put away the things that might prove to be a danger to a child. Otherwise, we watched her closely and nothing appeared to suffer any damage. Besides, thingscan be replaced.
A few fingerprints on glass doors, windows and tables remained after Hannah and her family returned home. I couldnt bring myself to clean them for days. Each one reminded me of some wonderful experience with Hannah.
Months later, my husband and I drove to Salt Lake; I watched Mark and Kim continue to practice the one finger rule. But I refrained from saying, I told you so. Yet, I smiled inwardly each time they prodded Hannah to touch with one finger. Mark, a salesman, always gave a packet of gifts to his potential clients. The night before we returned home, Mark sat on the floor stuffing gifts into their packets. Hannah helped.
Then she picked up one gift, held it in her hand as if it were a fragile bird, and walked toward me. At my knee, her beautiful blue eyes looked into mine. She stretched her prize to me and said, One finger, Nana!