Most days my news feed is full of pain, grief, heartache, and tragedy — but today wasn’t one of those days.
I mean, those stories are there, too. But one beautiful and uplifting piece of news caught my attention, and it is one I cannot shake: The story of little Layla and her creative father, Geof Grubb.
So what is so special about Layla and Grubb? Well, her eyepatches. Correction: Their eyepatches.
Layla was born with a cataract in her right eye. According to Refinery 29, doctors informed Layla’s family that she would need to wear a corrective patch on her left eye for two hours a day to “encourage vision improvement.” But instead of just giving his daughter a generic patch — something most parents, including myself, would do without so much as a second thought — Layla’s father did something extraordinary. He drew on each and every patch, a new creative take every day.
And I’m not talking doodles, either. His artwork is adorable and awe-inspiring. He’s drawn everything from Disney princesses and Batman to a Pink Floyd’s album cover, a DeLorean, and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” And he posts them on Instagram, where his account Layla’s Patches has 11.8k followers.
When Grubb initially explained the project on Reddit last year, he said: “My daughter has to wear an eyepatch. [I just] tried to make the best of it.” And that he has.
Grubb isn’t the first parent to turn a medical device into a piece of art — just last year, Jonathan Moxey turned his son’s corrective helmet into a Star Wars-inspired works of art — nor will he be the last. But as someone who grew up wearing a corrective medical device (I wore a full-body back brace 16 hours a day, every day, for more than a year), I’ve got to tell you, Layla, her eyepatches, and her father are awesome. Just awesome.
You see, he is giving his daughter more than a few laughs and a smile. He is giving her happiness and hope and — whether he realizes it or not — he is giving her confidence. The confidence to be strong and different, against all odds.