August 22, 2007. It was my 9th wedding anniversary. But we didn't celebrate it. Our son had just been born the night before, and we were celebrating his new life.
I awoke early that day, unable to sleep from all the excitement the night before. (We strolled into St. Peter's Hospital a little after 10 pm, and the boy was born just before 11. He came out like vaginal cannon ball.)
That first night of his life was a blur. Doctors and nurses and holding him and looking at him. Touching his miniature feet and hands. Looking at his eyes.
Something about the eyes.
They remained closed much of the time that first night. There may have been a moment or two when the eyes blinked, but only a quick moment. There was something about the eyes. My wife knew it. I knew it. We just didn't know what it was about his eyes. Just...something.
So on my 9th anniversary, I got up and fed my 2 year-old daughter. I got her dressed, and brought her to meet her new little brother. The hospital scene was typical; bassinet beside the bed, and my son being held by his exhausted but beautiful mother. And the boy and his big sister met for the first time.
Still, there was something about the eyes.
Our room at St. Pete's looked over a courtyard. Not the best vista, but we weren't too interested in the view. While we were hanging out and laughing and holding and loving our children, I took a moment and brought my son over to the window, just to show him the sky, the bricks, the clouds, and the world.
Finally he opened his eyes, and I could see them very clearly. He kept them open, looking right up into the unbelievable blue sky. His eyes were cloudy. Grey. Mirrors of the clouds that gently hung in the blue August sky above. Slightly moving around, as if he was searching for something that wasn't there. His eyes were cloudy.
These eyes were blind.