I’ve been watching my mom sporting her eye patches for over a month now. She was initially (and understandably) distressed about her eye occlusion – you would be too if a main blood vessel in your eye burst. But having the option to look hilarious and stylish at the same time overruled her inhibitions, and she jumped right on the Eye Patch Wagon. Some of you will remember this photo:
That first day she was just trying them on – and having loads of fun with her partner in crime I may add. After that she got serious about it, requesting a few adjustments such as thinner elastic on all of them and better sizing so they did not slip off. How nice to have custom-made eye patches and then be able to tweak them besides! It appears there are some benefits to being 83!
Unsurprisingly, she then began to do some serious coordinating with them. I mean, how about this for an outfit?
Personally I think the mini watermelons were a most perfect choice for this hot July day.
Friends and family had great fun posing with her. Clearly she was entirely comfortable embracing her disability. Rock on, Mom!
And have fun playing pirate with your great-granddaughters!
The blue and white combo below works well and maybe doesn’t call quite as much attention to itself as the watermelons, I’ll grant. Some days you want to be striking, and some days you don’t.
The orange and yellow flowered patch with the solid yellow shirt, lovely again. It’s hard to see but the orangey earrings go with the orange in the patch. Of course.
I’m so happy Mom is not letting the eye situation get the better of her. She’s always been a take-the-bull-by-the-horns kind of person. It seems that she looks at it this way: If I’m going to have to wear an eye patch, I’m going to have fun with it!
This teeny yellow plaid patch picks up the yellow flowers in the shirt in this next combination, all bright and cheery for summertime, and playing with delightfully dueling patterns. Unfortunately I was not present for the piece de resistance when she wore the purple star patch to dinner one night with a perfectly matching purple top. Downright elegant she was, so I am told.
Mom’s patches are coordinated, yes, but most of all they are fun! They reflect the little girl inside the grown woman, the choice to giggle rather than grumble. How she looks is not about her coordinated outfits — it’s about her spirit, her heart, her joy.
All this eye patch business has made me think about how we present ourselves, what we do to hide or not hide our disabilities, our imperfections, our flaws, and where, overall, how we look fits into and reflects the scheme of things. Think about what you do to make yourself look the way you want to both at home and in public. How much do you care about and think about how you look? Do you look in the mirror and say things like:
That shirt makes me look dumpy… this one is better.
Those pants fit better than they used to … they are not so bad now.
This coat is dated and I look like an old fart….
Just going to pick up a coffee – I’m not changing for that…
Does everyone even look in the mirror? Sometimes I wonder.
The fact is – despite the bombardment of advertising that would have us think otherwise – how we look is only a small part of who we are. My sister Lisa got Hodgkin’s disease in her early 20s. Three weeks before she died, she jokingly said to me, “Finally I’ve grown my nails and lost some weight and now I’m going to croak.” We laughed, but we both knew it’s not about what you look like. It’s about who you are inside that’s so beautiful. It’s about precious time with people you love.
I hate that Lisa died so young, I hate that I missed so many years with her. But I have never forgotten those moments we had together. Over the years the conversation morphed for me into a little voice in my head that says: Make sure you’re paying attention to what’s really important. Don’t take the good things for granted. Let the stupid stuff go. Tell the people you love that you love them – in words when words are all you have and in actions as often as possible. Make the world a better place.