Sight Unseen: Lessons of a One-Eyed Purple Monkey

Last night Cate decided that her beloved purple monkey needed mending.  He’d lost an eye… again.  The first time, the monkey’s original eyes were eaten by a well-meaning dog that just wanted another toy to chew on for a while.  Then Cate, in her own admission of curiosity, pulled on one and as it came off in her hand, her eyes widened with surprise and she covered her open mouth with her other hand, dropping the monkey at her feet, realizing what she’d done.

In a fit of what I can only assume was guilt, and with a decided sense of urgency, she begged that we glue the googly eye back on as quickly as possible.  Last night, however, Purple Monkey (as he’s been called since she got him) was sporting one eye, yet again, and Cate came running into the family room.

“Mom!”  She said dramatically  “Purple Monkey’s eye is missing!” And before I could ask her how she continued, “I didn’t do, I didn’t do.  I swear!”

And her wide eyes made it clear that she was telling the truth.  A fruitless search of her bedroom didn’t turn up the missing eye.  And instead of finding a new one, Cate had a different idea this time.

“He just needs an eye patch.”


I’d never made an eye patch for a small purple monkey before, but we found some craft supplies and sitting at the kitchen table bench together, we fashioned one out of a small length of black ribbon she had chosen, afixing it over his right eye carefully.  Cate used tiny fingers to move the ribbon under his ear, ensuring he could still “see” out his remaining left eye.  As she worked, her lips were parted slightly and I could hear the breath go in and out as she focused on her task.  And when we finished, she hugged him and sat back on her heels proudly admiring his new look.

When she went to bed that night, I watched her hug her monkey and even overheard her whisper, “It’s okay. It’s just an eye.”

When she trudged down the stairs for breakfast this morning, Purple Monkey was in tow eye patch still in place.

When I asked why she wanted the eye patch instead of gluing the eye back on again she said simply, “He just can’t seem to keep his eyes on.  This is better, ” she shrugs her small shoulders without looking up from her cereal bowl.  Purple monkey she has propped up against the milk carton so he can watch her eat.  She has him ever so slightly turned so his “good eye” is on her.

And so it is now.  To us, to Cate he’s no less of a huggable, lovable monkey and he’s certainly not broken or damaged for his eye being missing.  He’s actually quite perfect.

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