MY memories of childhood are all rather hazy.
On reflection, I now realise this is because I couldn’t actually SEE.
I’ve worn glasses ever since I can remember (the days before specs I can’t recall as I couldn’t see enough to form any actual memories).
My descent into the land of the four-eyed people began after a school eye test at the age of six. When the eye man asked me to read the letters on the white screen, I confessed all I could see was a white blur with some black smudges on it.
Off to the opticians I trotted and on being told I would need glasses, I recollect feeling a sense of naive excitement. “Ooh, glasses!” I thought. “They’ll make me feel grown-up and clever.”
My elation quickly subsided when I saw the range of hideous NHS glasses frames I could “choose” from.
The options available in those days were:- 1) Ugly NHS tortoiseshell brown glasses for boys. 2) Ugly NHS glasses in baby pink for girls and 3) Ugly NHS glasses in baby blue - for boys and girls.
There was the option of splashing out on trendier frames – not on the NHS. But as my parents were careful with money when it came to face furniture, I ended up with the rubbish ones.
Being a fairly girly girl, I opted for the NHS pink and not only did I have to suffer the ordeal of wearing the terrible square top specs, as my eyesight rapidly declined, the plastic lenses in them got thicker and thicker until they resembled milk bottle bottoms.
Along with the specs came the inevitable playground taunts: “Specky” “Four eyes”, “Cyclops”, “Speckoid” - I was called them all at some point.
Even though I defiantly shouted back “Four eyes are better than two”, it sounded a bit hollow.
After frequently hearing the phrase: “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”, is it any wonder that I practically sprinted to join the queue for contact lenses when I turned 16.
Since getting my contact lenses, I’ve never looked back. Putting in and taking out contacts has become like second nature and the only time I wear my glasses now is a few minutes first thing in the morning or last thing at night or on the rare occasions when I have an eye infection.
So used to wearing contacts am I that when I do have to wear my specs on the odd occasion, I can’t shake off the feeling of having left the house without getting properly dressed.
The memories of my early days with glasses came flooding back this week when my little lad went for an eye test and was told he needed glasses. Even though hubby has perfect vision, with me being ridiculously myopic, we always knew there was a chance our children might need glasses.
The other weekend, we realised that time had come when we were in a cafe and Cameron looked up at a menu scrawled on a blackboard, but could not make out the writing the rest of us could see.
As his bottom lip started to tremble, I reassured him there were lots of nice glasses out there and he could choose whichever ones he wanted and, when he was older, we’d buy him contact lenses.
It turns out his only concern was whether glasses would get in the way of him playing football.
He soon cheered up after the test when the optician told him that yes he did need specs, but only for reading the whiteboard at school and that he definitely wouldn’t need them on the football pitch.
In fact, when it came to choosing his frames, he was positively brimming with excitement and now he can’t wait until they’re ready to pick up. I’m thrilled that childhood glasses no longer have the stigma they once did and I was amazed at the variety of frames on offer for children. They even have designer brands.
Wearing glasses does come with its drawbacks such as walking into a warm room or drinking a hot drink only to have them steam up or going out in the rain to end up with drippy wet lenses that need windscreen wipers.
They can also be cumbersome when canoodling!
Spontaneous sleeping becomes a minefield as you struggle to find a comfy spot for your glasses only to wake up with funny imprints in your face.
But modern glasses look so good that some celebrities even wear clear-glassed ones just so they can look like bespectacled sex gods and goddesses.
When I wore glasses as a kid, people always thought I was nerdy. Now, on the rare occasions I wear my specs, I am told they make me look intelligent. So they’re miracle workers too.