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2016年8月15日 (月)

Eyes of a heart

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Cody started life weighing 24 ounces.

  Due to extreme prematurity, our son had eye surgery to prevent blindness. As a result of the surgery, he lost peripheral vision in his right eye. And his near sightedness would mean glasses and close monitoring by an ophthalmologist for the rest of his life.

  Such a small price to pay, in our opinion, compared to the alternative.

  Cody wore glasses with great pride, making it abundantly clear to his little brothers that Mommy and Daddy also wore glasses, and wasn't it a shame that they didn't have any themselves. This usually prompted a round of begging from his siblings that it was only fair they get glasses, too.

  Then kindergarten happened.

  One day, a couple of kids at recess derailed Cody's bright outlook on having glasses in his possession. One boy said, your glasses look stupid, Cody. Another kid yanked them off his face and bent them.

  Cody was a timid, small child. Seeing tears well up in his eyes, as he recounted the event, wrung our hearts dry.

  Just recently though, something changed his outlook.

  It was the morning of Valentine's Day. I shut off the alarm and groped around in the dark until I found my glasses. I donned them and without turning on the light, blindly made my way to the bathroom. I flipped the bathroom switch, and there I discovered why it was extra dark in my bedroom.

  My husband, Stephen, had placed two red heart stickers on my glasses. And plastered all over the mismatched antique mirrors above our bathroom basins were the same stickers.

  "VALENTINE," my husband had scrawled on one mirror, "I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!"

  In one mirror was drawn a stick arm with a hand pointing west. And in the other mirror was the same thing pointing east. I was chuckling under my breath, so as not to wake the rest of the household, while staring at my reflection.

  I penned my response in the mirror, "Thanks to you, sweetie, I've got hearts in my eyes!"

  While dressing Cody for school, he whispered, "Mom?"

  "Yes, big boy?" I whispered back.

  "You got hearts on your glasses."

  "Yep, I sure do."

  "You're funny, Mom," he said, his eyes sparkling. We both climbed into the cab of the pickup truck, where other hearts ambushed us. Stuck to the steering wheel was a heart. Another one was on the rearview mirror, on my truck key, on the stick shift, and on my wallet. All compliments of my heart?happy husband.

  I peeled the hearts from my glasses and handed them to Cody. He stuck them carefully on his own glasses and smiled the whole way to school.

  I parked in front of his school.

  "Get your book bag, sweetie," I said.

  "Mom, can I wear my hearts to class?"

  I debated it for a moment. Pulling a "stunt" like this could go either way. But the pleading in his eyes sealed8 it for me. How could I deny him what may turn out to be a fun opportunity?

  "I don't see why not, big boy."

  I placed two hearts on my own glasses, and together we entered his school, hand in hand, parting the crowd in the hallway on our way to his classroom.

  "Ha! Look at Cody Oliver! He's got hearts on his glasses!" one observer called out.

  "Oh, look at Cody! How cute!"shouted another, pointing and giggling.

  Cody smiled shyly, gripping my hand for dear life.

  When we arrived at the doorway, classmates gathered around my little guy, while I saw him trying to shake off the biggest grin I'd ever seen on his face.

  "That's neat! Hearts on your glasses!"

  "Cody, can I try them on?"

  One little girl tugged at my sleeve. "Mrs. Oliver?"

  "Yes?"

  "I wish I had glasses."

  I knew then without a doubt that Cody's outlook was back on track.

  Just by having hearts in his eyes.

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