Sunday, January 29, 2017

Forget About the Oxygen Mask; Don't Neglect Your Glasses!

I'm putting myself first more often. If I don't, I could lose my eyesight.  
Broken Glasses by Teece Aronin.
Available for purchase on products at:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/phylliswalter?asc=u

Now that I've made that shameless pitch for your attention, let me add that I have the same tendency as a lot of single parents - to run the kids all over Hell's half-acre, taking care of their stuff and not attending to my own. 

I'm no martyr, believe me. It's just that their stuff always feels more pressing - and often it is - technically. But if I don't shove my smaller stuff in first more often, it's going to turn into bigger stuff, and I won't be able to see to drive my kids to their even bigger stuff. 

You might be be thinking this makes no sense, and doing a quick read-through of what I just wrote, I'm thinking you're right. But really - everything that happened, happened pretty simply - like this:

The screw holding the bow (the little stick that hooks over your ear) on my glasses fell out one day causing the bow itself to fall off. Since I can't see without my glasses, I wasn't able to glue the little male end of the bow into the little female piece mounted near the lens in hopes of holding it all together until I could get my glasses fixed the next day. 

I asked my daughter, Syd to glue them together, and this worked great - until the next day when one of the kids' doctor appointments had to be moved back into the time slot when I would have been at the optical department of a local retailer getting screwed back into functionality.

The next two weeks were a perfect storm of these kinds of scheduling conflicts complicated by my own meh attitude on those days when I might have been able to jam the errand in among the kids' stuff. 

Syd and I settled into a comfortable routine of me leaving my glasses out on my way to bed and Syd gluing them before turning in herself. It was a little like leaving your shoes outside your door at a high-end hotel to have them polished while you sleep.  

It was like that except that I didn't get to sleep in a high-end hotel. 

One night I left the glasses out to be glued, but our cat must've made off with the bow because Syd couldn't find it, I couldn't find it and the cat looked smug. 

Okay, this isn't the end of the world, I told myself. You'll just look a little silly walking around with broken glasses until you can get to a same-day glasses place. That, I calculated, could happen within two days - or two years if I waited until a day when the kids didn't have something already on the calendar. 

My kids have this sense of entitlement which has them believing that until they can drive, I should help support their medical and dental care habits, their budding social development and their fledgling community commitment. I actually have children interested in volunteer work, horseback riding lessons, social causes, and other things that can make them healthier and the world a better place. How they've become so shallow is beyond me when their mother is willing to sacrifice her vanity for them.  

At work the next day, my one remaining bow fell off. I tried propping the glasses on my nose like a pair of pince nez, but that didn't work. Then I tried holding them in place like opera glasses, but that would mean typing one-handed, and typing is what I do most of the day. 

I ended up having to take time from an already loaded work day to run to the same-day glasses place, get a vision exam and then wait an hour for my new glasses. I was overdue for both the exam and the glasses anyway so in a way it was for the best, and if you're wondering why I was overdue, you obviously haven't been paying attention. 

When I got back to work my boss said, "Hey, nice glasses!" I said, "Thanks, but I think they're a little crooked." He said, "It's not the glasses."

Anyway, the real point here is that by not making the glasses a bigger priority, I made an already long workday even longer and ended up working late into the evening, costing myself time that could have been spent relaxing with my kids. Because as much as I complain, we do make time for each other most evenings, and that is time that means a lot to all of us. By not taking care of myself, we all lost out. 

I just remembered a joke which I'll condense here to put a finer point on the whole thing:

A brain, a pair of eyes and an anus were arguing among themselves about which of them was most important. The brain said, "I'm the most important. If it weren't for me there would be no art, no intellect, no scientific achievement!" The eyes said, "We're the most important. If it weren't for us, no one could see where they're going and people would crash into things and fall down!" Then the anus said, "I'm the most important." To prove its point, the anus stopped working and the brain couldn't focus on art, intellect and science and the eyes crossed and people crashed into things and fell down anyway. All of which goes to prove there are no small jobs and everyone is important no matter how insignificant they might seem.  

People often use airline oxygen masks as a metaphor for the importance of making yourself a priority. Imagine that you're on a plane with your child and there's a sudden drop in cabin pressure. You were told in the pre-flight safety briefing to secure your own oxygen mask and then help your child with hers. What the analogy tells us is that if we don't take care of ourselves first, we can't care as effectively for our children. 

I'm here to tell you: The glasses are just as important as the oxygen mask because if you can't see, you won't be able to put the mask on your own face, let alone your kid's. So, it doesn't have to be your oxygen mask; sometimes it's something simple and humble like the bows on your glasses.

Just ask any anus.