"Stay, Daddy. Sit here."
I looked down. There was youngest's bright, smiling face and clear blue eyes beaming back at me like a lighthouse on a foggy summer morning. And so I sat in safe harbor next to Bryce, the Mama on the couch next to her and Beatrice on the floor in front of us, just a few minutes from leaving on another work trip.
My flight, diverted from San Francisco to Oakland due to the Korean airline accident yesterday at SFO, nagged at me. I have no fear of flying and never have. I'm sure there were many passengers on the flight yesterday who felt the same way. But it's not the flying, what may or may not happen in transit or at the final destinations, or the business travel itself -- it's the being away from the girls. Fortunately they are powerful homing beacons; signals so strong that I will always find my way back, no matter what happens or where I'm at.
I love them both so much, and while neither is a favorite as parents of two-plus children joke about, there is a little stronger affinity with Bryce, probably because there's a "male" energy in her, much more than Bea has had to date. Bryce is a rough-and-tumble, no-fear, highly expressive little girl. Bea is not (although being around Bryce all the time has helped Bea with her own confidence). And while Bea has made huge strides with her processing delay and her communication skills, Bryce has no such similar issues that we've identified so far.
However, she's had her own physical problem that's become more prominent during the past year. She has exotropia -- a vision problem where one eye migrates outward and binocular vision can be difficult. It affects only about 5%-10% of children and show's itself between 2-3 years of age. There are exercises we've encouraged her to do via our visits to the eye doctor, with limited success (because it's hard telling a two-year-old to work her eye), but it may be something that will self-correct in the next few years, especially if she works to strengthen the weaker eye and her visions aligns. She does make a conscious effort with or without our prompting, although glaring light on foggy/overcast days really bothers her. We've even bought a viewfinder to look through to help her work on the weak eye. Otherwise, if it doesn't self-correct, there's surgery, something we don't want to have to do, since multiple surgeries tend to be the norm before the correction takes hold.
One thing I've come to know quite well in my lifetime is that we're all imperfect. It's the tiniest of flaws, a mere matter of degrees, failed cells and synapses, that force us to adapt, fusing survival with everyday struggle and success. It's in these imperfections where our love can grow stronger if we so choose, forever tethered in light and shadow.