Day 51: Go through your day without your sense of sight. On a scale of one to ten how vital is your sense of sight?
I have been putting off this challenge for several days because day light saving time has not afforded me the opportunity to do much of anything in the evenings. I am trying to take advantage of the desire to wake up mega-early to get back in the habit of going to the gym early morning. And although the gym would be an ideal place to be without the sense of sight I couldn’t really think of a way to pull that one off.
So, I did what I usually do when I absolutely don’t want to blow something off. I told Emily. A child of her age will not let you get away with changing the plans. Unless the plans revolve around postponing bedtime. So, I told Em we’d go for a walk as soon as we got home from work/school on Monday evening. I thought we’d take turns wearing a blindfold and stroll around the cemetery, seeing if the things that we hear or smell were different when we were without our sense of sight.
Monday evening when we got home it was nearly pitch black dark. I decided that we would probably look like creeps strolling through the cemetery blind-folded but I didn’t care. And when I suggested that maybe we wouldn’t go at all she reminded me that I had promised.
And then I was saved. Not by a bell. But by shoes!!! I ordered (read: my mom ordered for me, thanks, Mom!) not one, not two, but THREE fabulous pairs of potential Wedding Shoes on Saturday evening and they were already here. Em won’t change gears for just anything, but damn that kid can appreciate a spectacular cherry red satin sling-back. By the time we’d gotten them all out of the boxes and assessed the potential of each pair, it was far too late to take a stroll through the cemetery.
Feeling pretty great about myself this evening (since I had been successful in Mission: Get Your Ass Back to the Gym this morning) I contemplated, yet again, blowing off our mission to take a walk blind-folded. I wanted to make sure MQD had time to get some exercise, and I had dinner to prepare, and a stop at the store. When I suggested to Em that we might need to stop at the grocery store on the way home and postpone our cemetery stroll it was her bright idea to walk through Food Lion with our eyes closed.
So, off we went. When I first took her hand and closed my eyes, standing next to our car in the parking lot, I realized that this wasn’t really the brightest idea I’d ever had. Allowing her to maneuver me through the dark parking lot was not actually any different from letting her set off on her own. In fact it was doubly dangerous. So, I opened them back up (well, one of them, I just peeked) until we got to the door. ”Mom, while we are here, I need to pee.” And off we went to the back of the store. While we walked hand in hand through the store I realized that I was very conscious of everything she said. (Now this is no earth shattering discovery, take away one sense and the rest are bound to be heightened.) But it did make me very aware of how very little I actually “listen” to her chatter when we are out and about. Now I consider myself to be a parent that engages with her kid pretty regularly. But as I relied on her words to guide me though the store I was more actively listening than I usually do. Thus when she said “Just come right this way, Mama. We are gonna go down the wine aisle, since you know that one really, really good” I giggled but didn’t interrupt her. Or correct her. ”Really well, Em. Really well,” I thought.
She guided me all the way to the back of the store, to the creepy area where you find the bathrooms. Observation #1 re: being blind. Public restrooms pose a whole new danger. I was completely skeeved out. I was totally gungo-ho to try to pee without “peeking.” But as soon as I entered a public restroom I could feel myself freaking out. I said “Pick a clean one, Em.” Hopeful.
I could hear her opening and closing doors, assessing each stall. And when she said “This one has something brown on the floor, but I think it is candy” I caved. And determined that opening my eyes was the only way I was going to get in and out of here without feeling like I needed to rub hand sanitizer all over both of us. (FYI, she was right. It was a Reese’s peanut butter cup. But I am awfully glad I didn’t discover it later, say, on my shoe. The parental “Is this shit?” sniff test is really only an option when in one’s own home.)
We left the bathroom and she took my hand. I was proud of how well she maneuvered me through the dairy section. And we talked through the various shredded cheese options. I was even able to explain to her which cheese we wanted and felt reasonably certain she had picked the right one (although I did take a peek.)
At the register we switched places. She closed her eyes the rest of the way to the car. We stopped on the sidewalk and listened. We talked about how different it was to just listen than to listen and see. I was watching her face. Watching her thinking. Watching her when she is not “performing” for me is a rare pleasure these days, as she is a ham like her mother. As I watched her I was thinking about what I’d write about for today’s challenge and I felt the tears well up in my eyes.
So Day 51: How vital is my sense of sight on a scale of one to ten? Ten. I can’t imagine not being able to see her. Every day. She is changing so quickly. The Emily June I see today will be gone by the end of next week. Replaced by a new Emily June I will somehow love even more than I do today. Even though that seems unimaginable. I don’t know that I could believe this unless I saw it with my own eyes. As she held my hand and directed me through the aisles, I could hear in her voice how proud she was of being “in charge.” How excited she was to participate in a page of “your book, Mom. The yellow book.” The temptation to open my eyes didn’t come from my desire to see the end caps in the grocery store. Or to not trip over an errant can of green beans. I didn’t want to miss her. To miss seeing her experiencing something. Already as a working mother I miss so much. And being with her, sharing time with her and not seeing her was very uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that in seeing her I see myself. And it was a positively excruciating 15 minutes.
Today’s challenge convinced me I really do… need to see it to believe it.
(This post was brought to you by the Sentence Fragment and the Lines Around My Eyes that I didn’t know I had until I looked at the above picture. Enjoy!)