The Eternal Optometrist spending some vacation time together, my wise 7-year-old granddaughter and I waxed philosophically as we walked oceanic trails overlooking whales and dolphins.

Earlier, her grandfather noted that we might get caught in a rainstorm if we strolled for too long. “Oh, what a pessimist,” I teased him. “If it showers, then we’ll get to see rainbows.”

“What’s a pessimist?” Sophie asked me. rainbow, Kauai, Kauai walk

“Someone who sees rain instead of rainbows,” I explained. “In a pessimist’s world, something will go wrong. In an optimist’s world, things will go right.”

Her brow creased in confusion, but then we got distracted by the monk seal that blubbered up onto the beach, ready for a long day’s sleep. We listened to the volunteer speak while he set up ropes to keep away the curious.

monk seal, Kauai“It’s breeding season. These seals are extremely busy in the ocean. They come out to the beach to rest up, and they can sleep here for hours, or days, before returning to the important business of procreating.”

Oh no. Sure enough, Sophie asked the man, “What’s procreating?”

“Making babies,” the gray-haired volunteer responded curtly. Then he peered at me as if saying, “it’s all yours, lady.”bird of paradise, Hawaiian flower

Fortunately, a sea turtle provided a diversion, and our walk continued for two miles as we traversed lava rock and conversations about cranky little brothers and ballet lessons and how the Bird-of-Paradise got its name.

We sank onto a wooden bench, rocking back and forth as we stared at the waves move in and out, in and out.

Kauai, view of the ocean“In a week, we’ll be battling snow, ice, and rain back home,” I grumbled. “Just close your eyes then, and remember this spot.”

“You don’t sound much like an optometrist,” Sophie declared to me.

“What?” I asked, wondering what eyeglasses and vision had to do with New England weather.

The poor girl blushed and closed her mouth tightly, as if she’d said something wrong.

“An optometrist?” I repeated. “What do you mean?”

“You know, you don’t sound like you believe in rainbows.”

Oh. Damn. She was absolutely right. “An OPTIMIST!” I burst out laughing. “Sophie, you are so right. I am an optimist, and I just sounded like the opposite. Here’s to you, my wise one.”

She grinned and hugged me, and I’ll tell you, my vision suddenly became much clearer.

grandmothering, granddaughter,

How about you? Do you have an “optometrist’s” vision?


Thanks to Google Images for whale photo. The others are mine..


74 thoughts on “The Eternal Optometrist

  1. Gorgeous post! We can learn so much from children if we only listen to their wisdom. Her thirst for knowledge is wonderful. I wish for her that she keep it throughout her life. 🙂


  2. What a wonderfully sweet post. Had me smiling all the way through. Such memories the two of you made that day, and now you’ll have your own inside optometrist joke for years to come. 🙂


  3. This post was wonderful. Love that last line.

    I am neither an optimist or an optometrist, but I don’t think I’m a pessimist either (at least I hope I’m not). I would describe myself as pragmatic (or a Prague attic.)


    • Yes, a ‘get out of Boston snow/sleet/’ week or two helps the vision turn much sunnier, Bruce! I stopped by the Bay area on the way here and caught some rays and some rain. All my friends were outside with their mouths open drinking in the wet stuff. Hope you get some more.


    • Of course, if I lived in your gorgeous area (can you hear the green in my words? totally jealous), I wouldn’t need to fly to find sun. But… we need to keep that vision sunny no matter rain or shine. For me, granddaughter-love definitely helps. ❤


  4. They’re tough creatures, aren’t they? And more often than not, they’re right. We should listen to their uncluttered mind more and stop transferring our ‘expereince’ aka ‘everything that can go wrong’ to them.

    Easier said than done – just ask my grown up kids. 🙂


  5. Pam, this was a wonderful and “filled to the brim” post. I loved the rapport between you and Sophie. Your photograph of the 2 of you is so happy and an “optometrist” viewpoint is openly displayed. She definitely looks like you! 🙂
    The seal resting up to procreate, swinging bench with glistening water, and bird of paradise flower were all so nice to see. The rainbow was a lovely photograph. ♡ I think 8 have a mostly “optometrist” outlook on Life. 🙂


  6. What a lovely story. So… what do you call someone who dances in the rain and looks for rainbows and loves the feel of rain, or sunshine? Hmmmm… I think your grand-daughter had the right word! An optometrist is someone who always sees through eyes of wonder!


  7. What a fun memory to cherish. I love that your granddaughter is curious and unafraid to ask what a word means. I had to laugh at the volunteer’s discomfort. I wonder how many times people in his position have to dodge those kinds of questions!


    • I find it interesting and hopeful that 7-year-old girls are learning that it’s okay to be curious and to ask questions. I was too shy at that age, so I’m really encouraging my granddaughter to keep on askin’!


  8. Children do keep us on our toes, don’t they? And I love seeing the world through their eyes, especially with their misunderstandings of the language that turn out to be rather insightful!


Comments are closed.