It's been almost five years since we learned that Sydney would need glasses.
Even though in the grand scheme of health issues it was minor, it felt major at the time. No parent wants to hear that their baby isn't perfectly healthy, eyes included.
I remember that first appointment well. We had to hold Sydney down and pry her eyes open in order for the doctor to get the dilating drops in. We had to do that when she was 1, when she was 2, when she was 3, and when she was 4. I don't have to tell you how hard it is to watch your child scream in terror and pain (although, to be honest, dilating drops aren't that painful, but enough to scare a kid).
Yesterday we went back to the doctor. When Jason's (and the girls') health insurance kicked in on October 1, one of the first things I did was make an appointment for Sydney's eyes since she hasn't had them checked in over a year. Over the course of the years, I have learned not to pat myself on the back too hard for being so calm about Sydney's eyes. Most of the time I am. Until we go to the doctor. And then suddenly, the surface of my calmness is a bit jittery.
Fortunately, the news from yesterday's appointment was good. The doctor reassured me that Sydney's eyes haven't gotten worse. They haven't gotten better, but we're not expecting that they ever will. When Sydney is reading (as opposed to when she is looking at a book that's being read to her), she holds a book about 6 inches from her nose, but evidently that's okay. Every time Sydney missed a letter in the vision test (seeing C's as O's, and H's as A's, and F's as P's) my heart lurched a little bit, but again, Dr. Landon said that was just fine (the vision missteps, that is, not the heart lurching).
And when it came time to put the dilating drops in, I stayed seated across the room from Syd. I didn't have to hold her down, didn't have to hold her hand (although she would have if I was close enough), didn't have to hear her cry. She calmly tilted her head back, and let the doctor put the drops in. She didn't much care for it--and said as much--but she was a real trooper. The only real moment of panic was when after her eyes were dilated, her glasses were momentarily taken away from her. "I can't see anything, Mama!" she whispered. "I can't see!"
"It'll be okay, Baby," I reassured her. "You'll get your glasses back soon." And soon enough the glasses were back, safely perched on Sydney's nose.
Five years ago, I wondered if Sydney wearing glasses would ever seem normal.
It didn't take five years for it feel normal.
What took five years was being able to leave the doctor's office without anybody shedding any tears.
I call that progress.