We walked into the retinal specialist's office on the heels of our nurse. She handed off a chart and some squiggles Emma had drawn on a small grid--showing where and how her vision is distorted.
I stood expectantly holding both Emma's and my coats, Emma's backpack and my purse. I shifted my weight from one foot to another. "You may have a seat," the receptionist instructed us and I dumped my armload on a chair.
"What time is it?" Emma asked for the second time that morning. She HATES to miss school and has received awards in years past for 100% attendance. In first grade, she begged me to let her go to school the day after she had been released from a children's hospital with a head injury she got sledding. Not want to squelch her enthusiasm, I let her go.
"9:30," I told her. She sighed. The book report she had worked so hard on the night before was due today and, as much as she loves books, she was hoping to do an "author share" where she would talk about her book in such a way that other's would want to read it. The time the share would end was at 9:15 when the remaining half of the class arrived.
To say that Emma loves to read is a massive understatement. She reads, 250 books annually. At least. When she was in third grade, I realized that Emma could read faster than I could and maintain the same level of reading comprehension. Now as a 6th grader, she can read exactly twice as fast as I do.
With her eyes dilated, she can't read, but she needed desperately to get her hands on a book. "Can you read to me?" Emma asked. "Books calm me," she admitted, "when I feel nervous they just let me escape."
"I get that," I told her. "Have you got a book with you?"
She went through her backpack and pulled out Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It's 544 pages long and Emma has read it 5-6 times. It's a favorite of hers and I like that it takes her 3-4 days to read it. I opened to the first page and began, "Prologue: Shade of Fear. Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world...."
I couldn't help thinking that a chapter about shades of fear and the world changing was rather apropos. I didn't find the book nearly as distracting as Emma did. We were only a few pages in when we were called back.