The Tragic Optimist

you’re not alone

When Hazel cries while Zoe’s around, Zoe will usually run to her and hold Hazel’s hand or give her a hug.  “You’re not alone,” she’ll tell her little sister, “big sister is here.” It pretty much melts my heart into a pile of goo.

Recently, I’ve found myself repeating the “you’re not alone” part to Hazel when she’s crying.  At first, it was just a meaningless line for comfort, like “there there” or “it’s ok.”  But I’ve been thinking about just how comforting it is to know that you’re not alone.

When we were first dealing with infertility, I didn’t know anyone in real life who was dealing with the same thing.  Thank goodness for the Internets and all the infertility sites and blogs.  If anyone doubts that others are going through infertility, they need only look at Mel’s amazing list of over 2500 adoption, loss, and infertility blogs.  You are not alone.

I ran into that need to not feel alone again when Zoe got her glasses, and when I didn’t find a lot of online support, I started another blog (Little Four Eyes, linked from the side of this blog), hoping to find a few other families going through the same thing so I wouldn’t feel quite so alone.  It’s been successful, and I’ve been struck by the number of comments I get there from other parents expressing how happy they are to find others going through the same issues.  Apparently, I’m not alone in not wanting to be alone.

On Friday, we learned that Zoe not only needs glasses, but now she needs to patch her left eye for four hours each day, for the next 6 weeks at least (and quite possibly longer).   All of a sudden, I found myself desperate again to connect with others who had been through this – either as a parent helping their child with patching, or people who had patched as a child.  Looking for advice and tips and tricks, sure, but mostly just wanting the reassurance that I’m not alone.

At the doctor’s office, we talked with the ophthalmologist about Zoe patching at daycare.  “But surely she’s not the only one who has to patch?” the doctor asked.  I checked with Zoe, and no, no other kids at her daycare patch.  “No other kids have glasses, either” she told the doctor.  She’s doing really well, amazingly, actually, at being the only one with glasses at school.  I hope that she does as well with the patch.  She was worried on Friday that people would laugh, but her main concern today was how she’d get her patch home to put on her patching poster (we’re planning on having her patch in the morning from 7 – 11 am).  I’ve made a patch card with parchment paper (for baking on) to take her patch home on.  And I’ve jotted down a few instructions for her teachers (ok, I drafted it on the computer, but I’m going to write them by hand so I don’t look too worried).  I know she’ll be fine.  We’re not alone.  I still worry.


  1. I think it’s wonderful to find a community of people who share an experience. I’ve been thinking about what kind of blog or resource might be really useful to me. As a parent (and librarian of course!) I can’t resist the idea of compiling lists of books that address books with multicultural themes and/or have kids and characters of different races and ethnic backgrounds. In part, I’m driven by a desire to show my own children that they aren’t alone, but I also think that more and more people are looking for these kinds of options in children’s literature just to give their own children a more global perspective.

    Kudos to you for creating a space where parents and kids are supported!

  2. That is a very comforting phrase. You’ve got to hand it to the little ones. They can take this big complicated world, with all it’s issues and drama and boil it down to one perfect problem solver. You’re not alone.

  3. geeksinrome

    I went to school with a girl who had to patch her eyes. We did 1st to 12th grade together and we are still friends. She did alright. She is a strong, confident woman and we never found it odd she had the patch or thick glasses even when we were 5 yos. I think what mattered is she felt comfortable and confident about her situation so we did too. I dont know if things have changed but young girls can be amazingly gentle and accepting.

  4. Tricia

    Hi Ann. I stumbled on to your blog looking for some glasses for my 8 month old son. I think that the glasses that your daughter had as a baby are darling. The ones with the little checks and it looks like no hinges-Where did you find them? I haven’t been able to find anything like that. And have you tried the solo bambini ones?

    • Hi Tricia! Zoe’s first pair of glasses were Grant Italia. I loved those glasses, and they held up well for her, though she could and did bend them up pretty well some times. They did eventually break at the hinges (they did have hinges), 2 days before her second pair of glasses arrived – talk about good timing. From what I can tell, the Grant Italia frames are not available online, only at specific shops.

      I haven’t tried Solo Bambini, but I know some people have had great luck with them. Those and the Miraflex frames seem to be the best in terms of standing up to wear and tear from kids.

      If you haven’t already, you should check out my Little Four Eyes blog, especially the thread on glasses:

      • Tricia

        Thanks so much for your reply Ann. I found your other website after I had already commented on this one. I really appreciate your help. You really seem to know your stuff and many benefit from it!
        Thanks again,

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