Monthly Archives: February 2015

Do You See What I See?

When I was little, my parents bought a house that wasn’t finished on the inside. They had to paint walls (in some areas, put wood paneling on the walls because it was the 70s) and install carpeting.

I could not, for the life of me, understand why they put green carpet in our basement when everything else around was brown. My mom would laugh, and tell me the carpet wasn’t green, it was brown. I was constantly frustrated by her inability to see the carpet for what it was-green. This happened with my choices in clothing, (I was convinced my shirt was blue, she said it was black) as well as not understanding why she would do oil paintings with the wrong colors for certain flowers.

By the time I was a teenager, my ability to see far away became an issue, so my dad took me to an optometrist. This was the first time I had done an eye exam this extensive, and half way through it, he called my dad into the exam room and said “Did you know she’s colorblind?” My dad starting laughing and said no, he and my mom did not know that. But that would explain why I couldn’t help him choose the right socks to match his suits anymore than he could himself. My dad was colorblind, but they didn’t know women could be, and they just thought I was being stubborn about what I saw.

It turns out that 1 in 12 men in the world are colorblind, but only 1 in 200 women are. This genetic issue is passed down directly from the mother for men, but women get it when their father and their mom’s father are colorblind. My mom’s father passed away while my grandma was pregnant with my mom, so none of us ever knew him or anything about his genetics. When I got home, I told my mom the news (you have no idea how happy it made me that I had a reason I was seeing ¬†green carpet all those years) so my mom called my grandma to find out if her dad had been colorblind. He was!

And because genetics are awesome, I passed my colorblindness on to both of my sons. I knew this early on because extensive eye exams are performed at school now, so I got the panic letter sent home when Ryan was in first grade “HE CAN’T SEE CERTAIN SHADES OF RED AND GREEN. TAKE HIM TO HIS DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY!” And the less panicked letter two years later when Nolan had the same exam at the same school “I’m sure you are aware of this, but Nolan appears to be colorblind. Please follow-up with his pediatrician.” Um…ok.

The saving grace for the three of us colorblind family members is that Wil is not colorblind. So when we all drove by that new house in our neighborhood and freaked out that they painted it purple, Wil was the voice of reason in reassuring us that it was brown. And if we were lucky, he’d catch us before walking out the door in clothes that didn’t go together AT ALL so we could change. He also has to be the one to point out that we’re moving the wrong piece on the board when we’re playing a game, because we thought it was a different color than it actually was.

And since so many people asked me, I will tell you. That dress is not white and gold, nor is it blue and black. It’s tan and purple.

Hey, I’m just calling it like I see it.