By Lynn Dove
If we were all like angels, the world would be a heavenly place.
"Do angels wear glasses?" she asked me, with unshed tears glistening in her dark brown eyes. My five-year-old daughter Carmen had just come out of the auditorium after participating in the final rehearsal of the Christmas pageant at our church. The dress rehearsal saw all the children made up, costumed and ready to present the Christmas Story in the splendor that goes along with a children's pageant. Carmen was one of the Christmas angels and another sweet little "angel" had pointed at Carmen midway through the practice and declared loudly, "Angels don't wear glasses!"
Up until that moment, Carmen had been the true essence of "angel-ness." She was resplendent in her white, floor length robe, with the gold wings pinned a little crookedly to the back and a tinsel halo encircling her fine, blond hair. Truly she looked the part. I had always thought my child "angelic" even if at times she didn't behave that way, but on this occasion, Carmen imagined herself an angel in every way. She swooped through the auditorium, spreading out her wings and pretending to fly. She touched the halo with a kind of wonder and cruised in her flowing robe for all to see her magnificence. And then just as suddenly, her demeanor changed, when with one callous comment her fantasy world evaporated. She hung her head and took off her glasses.
It had been quite by accident that we discovered Carmen was legally blind in her right eye at the age of four. I had taken my other two children to see the optometrist just before school started, and almost as an afterthought I suggested the doctor check Carmen out "if she'll sit still long enough." The doctor gave a "thumbs-up" to both Brett and Laurelle, but he looked serious and concerned when he evaluated Carmen. "I think she should see a specialist," he suggested.
Over the next year and a half, Carmen was forced to wear an eye patch to correct the "lazy eye," wearing the patch five to six hours a day on her "good" eye to force the other eye to focus. She also needed to wear glasses.
I prayed she would respond well to this treatment, and she did. She got used to wearing the glasses, and although she didn't like wearing the patch much she still accepted it with little complaining. Wearing glasses gave her a whole new persona. Having a cherub face to begin with, the glasses only seemed to give Carmen an even more precious look, not to mention the fact that her vision improved dramatically over that period of time. But now my angel was holding her glasses with tears glistening in her long eyelashes, and the question remained unanswered: "Do angels wear glasses?"
I enfolded her in my arms and her tiny body curled in close to mine as I hugged her close and tilted her chin so I could look at her pretty face. "Of course angels wear glasses!" I said loudly, so all her doubting friends could hear, and so that she knew I was passionate about my answer.
She somehow became lighter there on my lap. The angel wings were beginning to flutter about her again. I wiped a tiny tear away and kissed her lightly on her forehead. She smiled. Hers was (and still is) a smile that lights up an entire room. She was soaring again, borne on those imaginary wings that were pinned to her robe. She jumped from my lap, put her glasses back on, adjusted her halo and then flew away to enjoy cookies and juice.
As I watched her, I marveled at her accepting nature. I didn't need to explain myself to her. She was content with my answer, truly a wonderful attribute for a five-year-old! Certainly over the ensuing years she has questioned me quite a bit on a variety of topics and I'll admit, I've bluffed my way through sometimes. I've floundered to give her a reasonable answer to one of her most pressing issues of the day, and I've watched her roll her eyes at me and walk away with that look that says, "You have no idea what you're talking about." But I feel pretty confident that my response to her when she was five years old will stand the test of time.
You see, I'm convinced that angels not only wear glasses, but they wear back braces, and leg braces, and braces on their teeth too. They sometimes have prosthetics for legs and arms, and wigs to cover bald heads after chemotherapy. They sometimes "fly" with the aid of crutches and wheelchairs. They come in different colours, sizes and shapes. They have crooked smiles, dimpled cheeks, and runny noses. They are loud, they are quiet, they cry, they whine, and they laugh, but to their mothers they are in every sense of the word... angels!
Angels do wear glasses, it's only the truly blind that don't see that!