So I had a conversation with my mum tonight that makes me feel very lucky that I had my daughter in 2011 and not in 1984 like my mum did.
We were watching telly like we do every night, and an ad for an optometrist came on. It reminded me that Miss K needs to go back for another eye test in 3 months time when I find out if her lazy eye has improved or not. My optometrist has already told me that she will be wearing glasses before she's in kindergarten to make sure there is no permanent damage to her eyes. Unfortunately for me I did not get my first pair of glasses until I was five years old so by then my lazy eye was here to stay. When I mentioned this to mum tonight she got upset, not about Miss K needing glasses, but that I had needed mine much sooner than I received them. It was at that point that I realised that the guilt you feel as a parent never leaves you. Even more than twenty years after the fact, my mum still kicks herself for the decisions she made during my childhood. Of course I don't blame mum for my terrible eyesight. For one it was her who took me straight to the optometrist as soon as I started complaining about having trouble seeing, and also try as she might, she never could make me remember to put my glasses on whenever I was reading. So in truth the only person who can be blamed for my bad vision is me.
But that was the point where I became thankful that Miss K lives in a time where eye tests are a normal part of medical check ups. For one thing I may be able to save her the years of weird looks that you get when your eyes refuse to co-operate with each other, but for another thing, there are any number of illnesses that while once upon a time were medical mysteries, or worse yet life threatening are today just a quick trip to the pharmacy away from being managed. I don't have to be terrified of the flu or polio like people from mum's generation were, AIDS while still life threatening can be treated with medicine, even mum's heart attack would have been fatal had it been twenty years earlier. Who knows what medical breakthroughs are just around the corner. With the constant advances in technology and science, one day all of these things could simply be words in history books. Now if only they could find a baby safe cough medicine my time as a mum would be so much easier. (Hind HINT scientists.) The other good thing about technology today is that even though I have horrible memories of Miss K with tubes and beeping machines all around her, they aren't the last memories I have of her, and the meningitis she got at two weeks was so quickly diagnosed and treated, and not fatal like it would have been in 1984.
Of course the downside of having a child in 2011 and not in 2021 or 2031 or even 2041 is that the technology then is going to be even better than it is now. Which just means that I'll have plenty of reasons to feel just as guilty as my own mum did tonight. Ain't parenting grand??