Gary, Jeremiah, and I went to the eye doctor's yesterday. Gary and I both needed new glasses. I generally only replace mine when I've either A)broken them beyond what tape or super glue can do or B) lost them and lost them "good" (like the pair I left on a tomato cage in the garden last year and never saw again. To this day I wonder if there is a raccoon somewhere modeling them for laughs). For once Gary was the one with the broken set, not me. Well, okay, the pair I've been wearing since last winter are second hand frames given to me last winter by a sympathetic staff member when something happened to the previous frames and our insurance wouldn't cover another set until after the first of the year. But the point is, I didn't break the second pair, I just needed better lenses. Gary's vision has improved in the last two years. Mine has gotten worse and I expect to be wearing tri-focals before I'm fifty.
Jeremiah, who is 21 now, wanted contacts and was paying for them and new glasses out of his own pocket--at least what the insurance doesn't cover, anyway. It was something special to see one's grown son pull out his check book and pay his own way. It was even more special to watch the young lady who was helping him learn how to put the contacts in flirt with him, smiling into his eyes, talking a mile a minute (she'd been polite enough to Gary and I, but nothing like that). Though she was clearly hopeful that he'd respond; he didn't. I imagine having one's parents around would cramp a guy's style. I know what she was drawn to--the young man has striking blue eyes and he has a smile that lights up the room. Though talkative at home and with close friends, he's otherwise quiet spoken and reserved like his Dad and possesses the same dry humor. But more than that, he is warm and kind this leaks out of him no matter how hard he tries to hide it these days.
My mother once commented in frustration that it seemed to her that her teenagers always saved the best of themselves for those outside the family, reserving their rudeness, self-centered behaviors, and thoughtlessness for the people who loved them most. For a fair amount of his adolescence we saw a lot of this in Jeremiah, and I confess that it often left me wondering how I'd raised such a materialistic selfish individual. Even his brothers shook their heads at the things he said and did and I'd sometimes see his dad staring after him, exhaling deeply.
But over the last year, he's morphed into this remarkably thoughtful, selfless individual and now we're all shaking our heads for a different reason. We can't quite believe the change. He made it his mission to help Daniel get on at the deli where they both now work, even driving him back and forth on his own days off. He remembers things like Mother's Day, and Father's Day, and birthdays. He is generous with his clothing (often scrutinizing his brothers "public attire" before I have a chance to do anything and telling them to get this or that shirt out of his closet) and his car (it gets better mileage than his Dad's car and he often presses him to take it instead). He is helping Daniel to "grow up" a little faster--sometimes being harsher with him than Gary and I are--but he gets results. Two weeks ago, my mother called me up in near tears to tell me that he'd spotted her in the store while he was working, stepped out from behind the counter and came over just to hug her. Jeremiah is not a hugger (his Dad didn't used to be either).
So I don't blame that young lady for wishing he'd flirt back and/or ask her out. There's a lot there to like. And I noticed that she did her best to arrange it so he'd have to come back to pick up more pairs of 30 day contacts rather than selling him a year's worth all at once. I also noticed that he didn't object to the extra trips.So maybe there's hope for her getting her wish yet. She obviously doesn't need glasses or contacts to see him clearly.