"Grandma, look!" Four-year-old Andrew tugged my arm, pulling me toward something that had caught his eye.
We were on vacation, just the two of us, and I looked forward to showing him all the wonderful things in Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Earlier Andrew had been pouting because he didn't want to wear his eye patch. He'd been diagnosed as having a "lazy eye" which meant he had to cover his good eye most of the day to force his weaker eye to become stronger. My daughter had given me explicit instructions on how many hours a day he had to wear the patch. But Andrew had hoped vacation meant he wouldn't have to wear it at all.
We entered the park and he spied the fountain sitting in a beautiful brick courtyard. It was the first sign of excitement he'd shown. So we stopped for a few minutes while he climbed up on the brick seating area and stared into the towering water. For the life of me, I couldn't see anything interesting in this ordinary display. I was anxious to show him all the kiddie rides-the cars, the trucks, the airplanes-and I knew he would love the eagle show. I tapped my foot impatiently, then urged him to move on.
A few steps later, he tugged my arm again. "Grandma, look!"
I followed his pointing finger. He'd spied the small pond in the center of the park. He hurried to the wooden fence to peer between the slats. Large numbers of goldfish could be seen surfacing through the murky water and an equally large number of paddled around. Andrew stood like a little caged monkey, face pressed to the opening between the wooden slats. Soon, quacking ducks waddled up onto the land. I sighed, pulled out a quarter, and purchased a handful of pellets so he could feed them.
He stuck his hand through the fence and dropped the pellets. His face was full of wonder as he watched the ducks fight and squabble over the meager offering. When the food was gone, the ducks waddled back to the water and paddled away. Still, Andrew remained glued to the fence.
Again I felt my foot tapping in impatience. I glanced at my watch. There was so much to do and so little time. "Let's go, honey, we'll stop back and feed the ducks again later." Reluctantly, he took my hand and I led him away.
But only a few steps later, he tugged me to a halt."Oh, Grandma, look at that!"
I turned my head to see what had captured his attention this time. Beside the path, water trickled over a hillside strewn with rocks. The water source was a wooden trough that stretched across the park, carrying water from a huge waterwheel at the Old Mill. For the life of me, I couldn't see what Andrew found so fascinating. But his little face was deep in concentration as he studied the phenomenon. I knelt down beside him hoping to distract him so we could hurry along. Then he faced me and smiled. His vivid blue eye was now on a level with mine.
"It's neat, huh?" he asked me.
I turned my head and noticed how the sun sparkled over the trickling stream. Suddenly I was a child again, sitting on the bank of the creek and watching the sun play across the ripples fanned by the flitting of fairy wings. I remembered how I could sit for hours marveling at all the mysteries hidden beneath the water's surface. "Yes," I breathed. "It is neat." I felt a smile cross my face. No longer did it seem so important to rush.
For the remainder of the day, I let Andrew show me all the wonderful things the park had to offer. There were beautiful flowers in colorful arrays and fantastic shapes. Music drifted throughout the park from rocks along the paths.
We were strolling beside the church when we heard a rustling noise. We stopped and stooped to look at a little chipmunk foraging for food. From a kneeling position, the park held many wonders. Scurrying ants, aligned in rigid formation, marched along with bits of food on their backs. I inhaled the fragran scent of mountain laurel carried on the summer breeze.
We wandered through the park most of the day and he pointed out all the wonders to behold. Before we left, we stopped again to feed the ducks. This time I stooped to look through the slats instead of peering over the top of the fence. The ducks were spectacular from this vantage point! The green band around the mallard's neck shone like rhinestones in the orange glow of the setting sun. Fat brown-feathered ducks gobbled the food pellets from my hand. I giggled along with Andrew.
I hadn't realized how much I was missing in life. I didn't have the luxury of staying at home with my children when they were growing up. Work had always been a priority to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. It seemed that I was always hurrying and scurrying, trying to meet all the demands of a working mother. After the children had grown and moed away, I continued on that frantic pace. My peripheral vision was limited.
But on a lovely summer day in Tennessee, I learned how to use the eyes that God had given me. I had been blessed with two good eyes, but I had been blind. Andrew taught me how to see. And he did it with only one very weak eye.