What Color Is This?

21 Jul

Why do we keep asking him that? Like he’s suddenly going to know? As if one day Nate is just going to wake up and be able to show us what part of a tree is brown and what part is green? He’s tired of being quizzed. He tries to guess. He often gets it right. In fact, his preschool teachers said he would always win when they played the color map game. But it wasn’t because he saw the colors, it was because he memorized that certain things were supposed to be certain colors. He adapted. That’s amazing to me.

But I still can’t help but feel bad for our little buddy. Each time he said someone’s shirt was brown when it was clearly green to us, we would shrug it off. He’s just being silly. How awful I feel. He saw brown.

“The boy in the brown shirt, mommy.”
“I don’t see a boy in a brown shirt honey. I see a boy in a green shirt. Which one is he again?”
Nate would concede, “Yeah, he’s in the green shirt.”

It wasn’t until I took him to register for Kindergarten that the woman testing his vision called me into the room to show me how he was answering the color blindness test. He knows his shapes but he couldn’t see them in the dots. He guessed. He got frustrated when she asked him to trace the circle he saw where the square was actually camouflaged. “I think he’s having a hard time with his reds and greens, mom,” she softly told me. “He should be ok. It’s not until later in life, when he wants to choose a career, that it will matter. For example, the military and pilots.”

My mind blurred with thoughts of all the color confusion and worries about limitations it could cause him down the line. I came home and googled like crazy. Males more than females. Inherited from the mom. The green in stop lights look blue to them. Horizontal stop lights can cause an issue because a color blind person memorizes the color positions on a vertical one.

Questions flood in: what if he wants to be like his daddy and try to go to West Point? What if he can’t now because of this? Andrew mentioned some classmates had doctor approval. Then he hit me with more worry, “He’ll just have to be careful when working on electricity and stuff.” I started to cry. “You mean he won’t be able to safely do handy man work like you do for your family?” Andrew comforted me with, “I’m sure his wife will help point out the colors to him.” My humor came back. “Unless she’s mad at him.”

Apparently, color-blindness is fairly common. Our eye doctor reassured me about it during Nate’s first visit today. She didn’t make it seem like it was a big deal at all. She said his green is just different from our green and that they now have a contact he can wear for construction/electrical work that helps distinguish the color differences.

When I think about where life may take him, it seems a white baseball may suit him better than we thought. Especially since the doctor said his depth perception is excellent.

One Response to “What Color Is This?”

  1. reinventedmommy July 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Every child has strengths and weaknesses. This is something I had to accept 2.5 years ago when they tried to tell me my son was broken. It is something I have to remind myself of every time he does something a littl off. Nate, like Drew, is a fighter and a survivor. There is nothing this or any other issue will stop him from achieving.

    Believe me. This is small potatos. *hugs*

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