The first time

08.15.10 | Spot | 2 Comments

Not the first time I worried about it, not the first time I knew something was wrong, not the first time I knew she was different. Not the first time I knew it couldn’t be fixed. Not the first time an adult asked me, in hushed tones, careful that she wouldn’t hear. Not the first time I realized there are some things she’ll never be, she’ll never do.

Not the first time that she asked me what it is (she doesn’t know about it yet). Not the first time I caught her in front of the mirror, trying to capture just at what angle her eye stops tracking (she hasn’t done that yet). Not the first time she wants to know why she’s different, why a doctor can’t fix it, why Heavenly Father would make her body not perfect (she thinks it is, so far).

Just the first time someone her age — that age when little kids guilelessly, relentlessly point out the fat lady withthe big bum, the girl who jumps and shouts at church, the old man whose legs don’t work — the first time someone her size asks her mom why Lucy’s eyes look funny like that, and the first time I hear a mother shush and whisper that it’s a lazy eye, and some people have eyes like that, not unkindly, both of us hoping Lucy hasn’t heard, or hasn’t understood.   

I say, it’s actually the opposite of a lazy eye (though really I don’t know what the opposite is). It’s that one of her eyes can look to the left, and look straight ahead, but it can’t look to the right.

But I don’t tell Lucy that. She doesn’t know she’s being discussed. She’s not even four yet.

It could be worse, of course it could be much, much worse. But the first time she realizes what it is, what her eye can’t do that most people’s eyes can do, won’t be the time to tell her that. I hope by that first time I’ll know the perfect thing to say, a thing that doesn’t sting her heart like this first time stung mine. 


Lucy has Duane Syndrome.