One warm summer afternoon on a family vacation on the east coast my 4 year old daughter picks up a whiffle ball bat and we begin pitching and hitting. She is crushing 40% of them and has never touched a bat in her life. I was so amazed and ran inside to get my wife to pitch and I started snapping pictures. The images were magical. Her stance was perfect, her balance just right, knees bent, bat poised to strike. As I looked closer I saw this determined face with a wrinkled brow and one eye closed. Almost like a person trying to shoot a gun. It was such a cute image. I love it and I look at it often, admiring my little girl. Weeks went by and we continued to practice hitting and she did that face again. Interesting. So cute. About a week later I noticed she was making that face while she was reading, coloring, and watching TV. Now I’m on high alert. I pick up a magazine and ask her to show me where the ‘W’ on the page was. Squinting, she finds it. As we continued, her left eye starts wondering inward toward her nose. That’s it, off to the eye doctor. Sure enough we find out that Ella Grace has two issues, far-sightedness and Amblyopia (lazy eye) or crossing of the weaker eye. A week later we are back in the doctor’s office picking up her new glasses. She will have to wear them for minimum a year, and possibly a patch to strengthen the weaker eye. Her whole aura seemed to change. She was vulnerable, different, and now had to deal with a “thing.” I had become vicious about wanting to protect her, wanting to strangle the first kid who said “4 eyes.” Nobody did. Not one person. In fact everyone told her how beautiful she was. Friends and strangers encouraged her, complimented her on her choice of glasses. Parents were AMAZING and so were their kids. Now I know this is not always the norm but for some reason my little Ella has had amazing support. Maybe it’s just the way she wears them. Maybe it’s her own confidence or courage or self esteem that elevates the reactions around her. Maybe it’s just a state of mind. Humm. Maybe that is MY lesson in all of this. It’s not always been such an easy transition, the other day she woke and started to cry, she didn’t want to wear them anymore. We talked about how important the glasses are and how this should only be temporary, a year or two. My feelings of sadness about her having an eye condition similar to mine come and go. But then I remembered, “change my state of mind about it!” Accept it as a blessing and just another road in our journey together.
Anyway, I love my little girl more than anything. She’s taught me so much in her short stint on planet earth: compassion, and understanding certainly, but more importantly, how one’s state of mind can change everything. And finally, she is batting 80%, now that she can see.
Nick Stabile is a Colorado native who has been working in Los Angeles since 1995. He is a graduate of the National Theatre Conservatory where he earned his MFA in Acting and has his BFA from Colorado State University. His first break in Los Angeles was when Aaron Spelling cast him as a series regular on Sunset Beach which aired on NBC. Following that Nick was cast in the lead role of the horror cult classic Bride of Chucky. His career includes recurring and guest starring roles on Saving Grace, Without a Trace, Saints and Sinners, CSI Miami, Half and Half, Popular Dawson’s Creek, Step by Step Passions, and Aaron Spelling’s Sunset Beach. He was seen most recently recurring on NBC’s Days of Our Lives creating havoc for Bo and Hope. Portraying Dennis Wilson in the ABC mini-series “The Beach Boys an American Family” was one of his favorite roles to date. Last summer he played Captain Taylor opposite Obba Babatunde in Soldiers Play and Uncle Peck from the pulitzer prizing winning play How I Learned to Drive. His most important role to date, has been the role of Husband to Tricia Small Stabile and Father to both Ella and Ava. Those reviews are still pending but it’s looking pretty good.