Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories



My oldest daughter wears glasses…sort of.

She has a prescription. And a set of lenses matching that prescription. And a nifty little case to put them in.

It’s a fight, however, to get the glasses out of their felt-coated den to perch stylishly upon her pretty little nose. They spend a lot of their time left at school, buried in her backpack, or “lost” in some obscure location that reeks of premeditation.

Because she has only mild astigmatism, she doesn’t need to wear them all the time. But not wearing them all the time and not wearing them ever are two different cookies.

I try to enlist the help of her optometrist to reiterate the importance of her glasses. If she wears them while she’s young and the condition is mild, her eyesight can be corrected. But if she doesn’t, she runs the risk of worsening her condition and needing eyeglasses on a more consistent, permanent basis.

He knows this. He’s the one who told it to me. Yet, year after year, he caves to the pleading look of nine-year-old doe eyes and the sound of a soft, shy voice, and mumbles something to the effect of, “Oh, I’m sure she’ll be fine.”

Avoiding the look I’m giving him, he laughs and talks with her about school like we’re on a social visit, only to side-speak with me later about different ways to get her to wear them at least when she’s reading or doing schoolwork.

So the need is there. But he chooses to stay cool doctor and leave the villainy to mom.

So villain I become…and private eye for lost lenses, and insurance rep for broken frames. Some days I explain it all over again, other times it’s “the look” and a simple, “Glasses. Now.” That gets results, though it doesn’t make me popular.

I’m sure my ratings would rise if I gave in and let her go glasses-free. Today anyway. In the future, if she did indeed graduate to a more permanent need for optical assistance, she’d regret that I didn’t stand my ground, maybe even resent me for it.

Because at the end of the day, it’s my job as a parent to do what’s best for her, and that’s not always what makes her happy or lets her feel good.

I imagine her older, walking out of a shopping mall (with a dagger in her pocket and a can of pepper spray in her purse like Mama taught her). She’ll take in the scenery around her with pristine clarity–without glasses. Not because she’s not wearing them, but because she no longer needs them. She won’t just see clearly then, she’ll understand too.

And she’ll thank me for it.


12 responses to “Unpopular”

  1. It seems like a large part of parenting is “holding the line,” being unpopular, and weighing the eternal vs the temporal. Sometimes I think the unhappier my children are the happier God is with me!


  2. Well done tough Mama! It’s hard when it’s a battle.
    Tell your daughter this story for me: my daughter, who is ten, has a friend at school who also has a slight astigmatism, and has also just been prescribed glasses. Her name is Lara, and she’s the youngest of three children. Lara has been DESPERATE to get glasses for the last five years. She longed for them when her older brother got them, and then, when her older sister got them she tried on all her favourite frames, and now, a few weeks ago, she proudly wore her glasses to school for the first time. There’s a case somewhere – her mother doesn’t know where. Lara won’t take her glasses OFF. Glasses, here, are COOL.

    I understand Lara in that I, when I was ten, was desperate for braces, because my older cousin had them. My daughter, on the other hand (who would love to wear glasses, and has a few fake pairs just coz they’re cool) will possibly need them soon, and doesn’t want them. Sigh. At least you can’t lose braces.

    Good luck!


  3. You’re doing a grand job, Tanara. There’s no guide book for motherhood! I’m sure that deep down your daughter already knows and understands. Keep persevering! 🙂


  4. I guess you need to tell her she’s pretty even with her glasses on, complement her a lot, it may do the trick 🙂 when i was small i liked glasses didn’t need them, now i don’t like them but i need them because i am near sighted… lol 🙂


  5. We get both extremes from kids who really really want glasses to some kids but mostly adults who do need correction yet believe they are okay. So I totally understand where you are at with this. Geek glasses are totally in among with pro-basketball players like Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder sporting some pretty awesome glasses.

    Glasses make people appear smarter and more responsible according to studies and can even give people an edge in the competitive job market. Lol, I am imagining you trying to use this argument on you young daughter, but it is true.

    Astigmatism is important to correct for academics and sports. I wish you luck. My wife always tells me it isn’t our job to be our daughters’ bff, but to be the example and guide them, doing what is right isn’t always popular.


    • Thanks for commenting :-). My daughter thought they were cool when she first got them, only because they were different. We’ve gone through different styles of frames, but ultimately it takes my authority to make her wear them. Your wife is right :-). Our kids will each have their fair share of bff’s, they don’t need us playing that part :-).


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