There are many hard things about being a mother, but the thing I personally find the most difficult is knowing when I'm doing what's best for my child.
I can embark on a course of action and feel perfectly confident about it, but then I find myself beseiged by doubt when the child in question protests and then I wonder if I've totally ruined them for life and if they'll ever be able to forgive me.
Such was the case yesterday.
My seven-year-old has bad eyesight, which has been getting worse quite rapidly over the last year. I took him in to an eye doctor last month and was counseled to get some vision-correction lenses which actually retrain the cornea to the right shape so the patient can see again, even with the contacts out, after a period of time. I talked it over with my son, and he was excited. I talked it over with my husband, who agreed. We prayed about it, felt good about it, and yesterday, we went and got them.
Now, in theory, I insert the lenses, he sleeps in them, and then during the day he doesn't wear them. In reality, I spent an hour and twenty minutes last night inserting one lens. My son was screaming, bordering on hysterics, and hyperventilating.
It was so hard, knowing that we could dramatically improve his eyesight and improve his quality of life, to see him freaking out like that. He'd let the doctor put them in earlier, but when it came to doing it again, he was out of control. I explained over and over and over again that this was for his best good, and he'd get calmed down, but as soon as he saw my finger, it was all over for him. Finally I called the eye doctor. Well, he said I could! So at eleven p.m. I'm on the phone with the doctor. He suggested letting my son fall asleep and then inserting the lens.
I tried. He didn't let me. Kid can fight like a wildcat even in his sleep. We left it at one lens.
This morning we went in to the doctor. I was completely ready to give up. My son was obviously not ready. We would have to discuss other options. I had dropped from exhaustion the night before. I had stayed awake thinking of what a rotten mother I was, questioning my existence. On three hours of sleep, I knew I was not in a condition to deal with this.
The eye doctor listened to my explanation, then checked my son's eyes. Well, eye. The one with the contact in it. Which was now seeing perfectly. He explained to my son that the contacts would help him see. He let my son play with the lens for a minute, and then he let the doctor put it in. Yeah, that's right. He put it in. The stinker.
Because these lens are oxygen-permeable, they're the kind you can wear for several days in a row. So we decided to have my son wear them for a while and then come back. Today has gone pretty well. We've put eye drops in a couple of times and he's getting used to them. Tomorrow promises to be better.
Now, if we can just get to the point where he'll let me put them in and take them out, then we'll have gotten somewhere.
Did I mention that I'm exhausted and frustrated and worn out? Yeah. I just really hope this continues to work. I want my son's eyes to be helped. And I hope it can be done in a way that doesn't end up sending the poor kid to a shrink to discuss his evil mother issues.