Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dancing Eyes

First day of Rosh Hashana, 2011/5772, 6:48 a.m.  I am sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee; Adina walks in ...

Me: "Good morning love."
Adina: "Hi Mommy.  Mommy, did you know my eyes always move?"
Me: "Yes, love.  How do you know?"
Adina: "Caleb told me."

And there you have it.

Adina was born with nystagmus, an involuntary eye movement disorder that results in reduced vision.  Her eyes constantly rotate back & forth, like a pendulum.  Since, thankfully, Adina doesn't notice the world as moving, I've wondered when and how she would discover the oscillations.  I should have known it would be the same way she figures everything else out - from her older brother.

Her reaction?  A'int nothing but a thing.  Adina Becker-Schwartz - Blond hair, long legs, moving eyes.  "Mommy, did you know my eyes always move?; Can you get me some cheerios and orange juice please?"

And my feelings?  Relief.  Gratitude.  And loneliness.  Because I am sitting at a table, in a house, on a street, in a city, very far away from the friends who would so easily get the significance of the moment.  And smile with me.

Back-track to three and a half years ago, a day or so after Larry and I learned of Adina's diagnosis.  A ten minute car ride.  Though I have absolutely no idea of where we went that night, I will never forget getting into my friend "J"'s car, "E" already there, and blurting out my news.  I was terrified.  At that point, we still had an MRI to get through in order to rule out the worst.  And, I knew that it would be a long while until we'd know if our daughter was blind.

My friends made it ... OK.  J immediately got on the phone to "K" whose son had the same disorder.  And K became my friend.  And she, and an entire alphabet of wise, big hearted women in Columbus, Ohio made me feel supported and loved and that whatever it was that I was going to have to help my daughter deal with, I would get through it - and Adina would too.

When all the books and brochures and web sites called nystagmus"wobbly" eyes, my friends made me see my daughter's eyes as "dancing." 

I miss my friends.  

I will make great friends in Denver.

I miss my friends.    

Happy New Year.  To Columbus, Baltimore, D.C., New York, Charlottesville, Jerusalem, Silver Spring, Ranana,Virginia Beach, and Newport News.

p.s. Thank you "N."


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