How do we ever know if we're truly ready for something new? The truth is, we don't. So, as adults we generally forge ahead with it and then put on the brakes and re-group when we fail.
As parents, we not only have to deal with this process in our own lives, we have to manage it in our children's lives as well.
"I'm ready for contacts," my 10-year-old announced recently.
The eye doctor had told her she preferred that she wait to make this transition at 13, but that exceptions could be made when a child plays a sport or performs on stage. My daughter is a dancer and she refuses to wear her glasses on stage, so contacts seemed like the only option. Plus, as a young lady on the precipice of middle school, she had become increasingly self-conscious of the way she looked in glasses.
Frankly, I wasn't sure she was ready, or that I was ready for her to wear contacts for that matter, but decided she would need to figure this out herself, that my opinion would be immediately rebuffed.
So, we tried. The nice lady at the opthamologist's office finally got one contact in her right eye after several tries. My daughter winced, fought back the urge to rub her eye and wiped streaming tears away from her beet-red cheeks.
"Not ready," I asked gently putting my hand on her shoulder. She shook her head "no" vigorously. We took the contact out and wiped her tears, replacing her glasses back on the bridge of her nose. I could tell she felt defeated.
"It's OK not to be ready for contacts. You have plenty of time," I said, pulling her in for a hug. "We can try it again in a week, in a month, in a year. Whenever you feel ready."
"But everyone thinks I'm getting contacts."
"Tell them you changed your mind, a girl has the right to change her mind," I said, thinking about how hard it was sometimes to relive life's toughest lessons through your children's eyes.
"How will I know when I'm ready?" she asked from the backseat of the car as we pulled out of the parking lot of the doctor's office.
"You won't know for sure," I responded, honestly. "You'll just have to try it again at some point and see what happens."
"OK," she said, sounding defeated.
"And I'll be there every step of the way. Plus, I think you look pretty cute in glasses."
At this, she smiled, readjusted her glasses, and admired her image in the side mirror.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.