Not the insurance company and not a change in my political views.
Over the break, I got progressive lenses - as in another word for "bifocals." My eyes have been the first part of my body that has "aged" on me. Sadly, this wasn't the first time.
When I was writing my dissertation, I noticed I was having trouble reading some of the articles from time to time but only attributed that to being tired. Our Boys were very young and we were all functioning on very little sleep. I really didn't pay much attention until I started noticing that it was happening more consistently and often when there was plenty of daylight, or light in general.
I went to an eye doctor for the first time in my life. To that point, I had only needed the eye exams that were a part of my annual physical with my pediatrician. While this exam essentially was what I remembered from my childhood, it was clear that some of the "smaller" letters were very difficult for me to read. During the follow-up conversation, my age came into play.
The doctor, whom I need to point out was younger than me, when I told her my age made a face with a pained expression on it. It was the first time my age was used against me. She then further used her hand to make an "over the hill" reference, she rolled a cupped hand up in the air and then followed that with a downward motion...
At that visit, I was given a prescription for glasses that did help but I only needed them for reading. While I did not return to the eye doctor until recently, I do admit that from time to time I bought new reading glasses, over the counter. And I kept needing stronger and stronger readers...
So when I finally went to the eye doctor recently, I was fully expecting to get a stronger and more accurate pair of reading glasses. Imagine my surprise when during the exam some of the letters and images that were farther away were not as sharp as I had hoped! I never considered for a second that I would need glasses to see far away.
In the post-exam discussion the doctor explained to me that I needed progressive lenses. I had no idea what that meant and the takeaway was, it was simply a better word than bifocals! When I asked if I needed to wear them all the time, she told me no. But then she added, that once my brain figured out there was something there to help my eyes, it was going to stop doing all the work on its own. I left with my shoulders slumped, once again, feeling old and sorry for myself.
When talking about it with My Wife later that night, she was able to put it in perspective for me, literally and figuratively. With a better sense of how grateful I was that this was something I could afford, because of the health care MPS has for my family and me, and that currently, my eyes are the only part of my body that is showing some sign of age, I was able to see things much more clearly.
I am committed to finding a way to bring a true sense of equity to Montpelier Public Schools, in a very real and basic sense, bringing students what they need to feel safe at school and learn to the best of their ability. How can we expect all of our students to learn, when some of their most fundamental needs are not being met? And it is on us as educators, our students are compelled to come to school for their formative years in Vermont - there is no such legal compulsion for our partners who work hard to support us, but struggle within their own capacity. Indeed it is on us - all of us in MPS. We can do this is, if we work together to serve our students, and their needs.