How To Look At Mom’s Eyes

No matter what, the woman who raised you will be connected to who you are, she fed and taught you throughout your life forming an unbreakable bond. To look at your mother is to face the origins of your heritage while also facing the immeasurable, yet invisible,  amount of work involved in keeping another person safe and happy. On a day to day basis, you’d walk in and out of the house, dark brown eyes transfixed on your phone, while your mom is attempting to pay this year’s taxes and renew the mortgage on the house all while looking at YOU, with the same dark brown eyes. With a smile across her face, she’d inquire about your day, “She’s so annoying.” you’d think.

Your mom watched you grow up, she witnessed every single mistake and victory in your performance of life.  Mom’s eyes have seen you laugh and cry, and fight and falter, all while she’s done the same unbeknownst to you. She’s overlooked your bills, she’s monitored your childhood doctor’s visits, and she’s examined every single cut and scrape on your body from birth until her ability to see was challenged.

Mom has had three eye procedures in the past year alone. She’s growing older, and her ability to look at you and look after you is fading. You’ve seen her vision fail time and again but didn’t make the connection. 

mom a few hours after eye surgery #3, courtesy of me.

You’d see her wincing expression, shortness in temper, body leaning into the the steering-wheel, and her frequency of missing exits and streets but miss that it was showing her inability to drive, especially at night. You’d peer at her hand -knuckles white- using more and more strength in the grasp on your arm when descending stairs and walking across streets showing her declining sense of trust in her own senses, while it remained unknown to you. Finally, the spike in eye-rubbing and intactness where her perfectly lotion hands would clasp over her eyes in frustration remained unnoticed by you.

When she’s been watching you, seeing every need you could possibly have, you’ve missed her needs completely. Mom would always see when you’re running low on Frosted Flakes and have them stocked in the kitchen -bottom cabinet, above the oatmeal- and she’d always have your favourite dishes cooked when you appeared to be even slightly sad all while you’ve omitted her decline in one of the five basic senses.

Due to her entire right eye being out of commission, this caused a blind spot encompassing half of her person. The woman who once taught you how to read, re-reading your work meticulously, now needs you to read to her. The woman who once held you up and taught you how to walk, and looked in every direction for you when you crossed the street, now needs assistance walking. She’s frequently bumped into things on her right side, prompting you to now seize her right hand whenever you’re with her. You see that you have to take on the role of looking after her now as you’ve forgotten to look AT her for so long. “You’re my eyes now. ”  she’d say.

The cataracts and retinal detachment have clouded her vision in both eyes yet , thankfully, this will be a temporary setback. She’s expected to make a full recovery once she’s been administered the remaining operations to be had over the following few years. However, you will never look at your Mom, or the way she looks at you, the same.


Works Cited:

Elkins, James. How to Use Your Eyes. Routledge, 2000.


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