Monday, February 3, 2014

The perfect gift.

I can see.

For the first time in my cognizant life, I can see the the
grooves in the ceiling when I wake up in the morning.

I can wake up in the middle of the night and find my way to the bathroom
without tripping over the dog. Or a shoe. Or without running into a wall.

I will finally be able to swim and play in the ocean without the fear of losing a contact.

For the first time in my life, I will be able to go camping without clumsily
feeling around the tent to find some clean water to rinse out and put in my contacts.

I will no longer writhe in pain when I get a speck of dust in my eye. OUCH.

If we are under attack by zombies, I no longer have to
worry about being completely blind and helpless. Bring it on.

I no longer have to hold my phone three inches away
from my nose when I'm lying in bed at night...and have it
slip out of my hand and smack me in the face.

I can finally go on vacation and not worry about losing/breaking
a contact, and then not being able to see anyone or anything.

I can finally look down at my toes...and see that I still have all of them.

This is pretty dang amazing. 

But there is one thing that makes all of this even more amazing and more special than I ever could have hoped or imagined.

This is my late great-grandmother, Alice (a/k/a Nanny), with me sitting on her lap.  (Circa 1983?)

I have so many fond memories of her.  Memories of playing in her yard, climbing on her peach tree, picking the raspberries, sitting on the porch with her, the smell of her house, the silly songs she used to sing to me, her taking care of me when I was sick, teaching me how to clean, the huge tub of ice cream she always had in her freezer, helping her quilt, the way her macaroni and cheese always tasted so good, seeing the "Tab" cola in her fridge, her telling me the names of all of beautiful flowers in her yard, her putting the sponge curlers in my hair and then calling me "Curly Temple", her cleaning my room and putting things in places where I wouldn't find them for weeks...

She was an incredible woman.  The perfect example of someone who experienced the hard times of growing up on a farm, living through the Great Depression, and who learned that she had to work hard to earn her way in life. She never stopped working until the day she died.

When I was younger, she left a little bit of money in a savings account for me (which she had worked really hard to earn), where it could grow over time. I was told that I would have access to it when I was an adult, after she had passed.  Nanny died in 2005.

After her passing, I couldn't think of anything worthy to spend the money on. Part of a downpayment for a house? No. Because what if I moved? A vacation?... maybe. But I wouldn't have felt right spending her hard-earned money on a vacation. To help pay for school? Eh. Maybe. To get out of debt? No. Nothing seemed good enough. Nothing felt right.

Finally, nine years later, I had found something I thought I could spend it on.  My eyes.  What better gift for my wonderful great-grandmother to give me than the gift of sight? As soon as I made the decision, I got a bit choked up. I cried. I knew this is what she would have wanted for me.

So now, as I sit here typing on my computer, looking at these beautiful pictures of her, without needing contacts or glasses (the first time in 24 years), I am overcome with emotion for this amazing woman. Every time I wake up in the morning and see the grooves in my ceiling, I will think of her. Every time I swim in the ocean without worry of contacts, I will think of her. Every time I look down and see my toes, yes. I will be thinking of her.

But the one thing that makes this even more special... is that I got my blue eyes from her. 

I love you, Nanny. Thank you.


the mom said...

So sweet... and yes, the perfect gift from a wonderful woman who loved you dearly.

Thanks for this beautiful post.

the mom said...

And LOL to her butting things away that you wouldn't find for weeks. So very, very true.

Kristin Cottle said...

This is beautiful.

I wish Nanny were here to read this because I'm sure it would make her so happy. This really was a perfect way to spend the money that grew over time from her gift to you. :) She probably had no clue how fondly we would all think of her and how she's still making us laugh.

I'm so happy you can see! (Especially that you'll be prepared now in a zombie attack)

Brandon said...

Beautiful post. And what a great way to use her gift!

Jennifer said...

I love those photos. Especially the first one where you are sitting on Nanny's lap. Such a sweet post and a wonderful way to honor her gift.

Lauren said...

I love this post. So beautiful! I am sure she is thrilled with the gift you chose!

barlow.stephanie said...

This is the sweetest thing I have ever read. Thank you for sharing.

the williams project said...

I'm crying now. You made me cry. You are such an amazing person ashley. So happy for you to be able to see just how amazing you are!

Sarah Jane said...

We finally made Sharisse CRY! :)

Sweet, sweet story and I'm happy you can see again too!

paul said...

What a lovely post. It made me cry it's so sweet.

Raising Helm said...

That was sooo sweet Ash, What a beautiful gift! Those big blues are definitely worth it my dear. Hope you are enjoying your beautiful vision. love ya!