Yesterday, while rinsing out the recyclables, I sliced my hand open pretty badly on a chipped glass jar. Now, you’d think after giving birth to two nearly 9 pound babies, a little blood wouldn’t affect me, but you’d be wrong. I’m a fainter, and I knew I needed to go sit down at least until the bleeding stopped. My two sons, ages 4 and 7, were sitting at the table working on an art project when it happened. I’ve spent every second of the past seven years being a mom. Every cut, bruise, headache, upset stomach, etc. that my children faced automatically became my malady, too. I’m used to being the one to take charge and swoop in to save my kids when they’re hurt or sick, and I’ve gotten pretty used to putting on a calm, brave face for them whenever I’m unwell.
This time, however, something was different.
From the second I said “Ouch!“, my sons sprang into action, each in their own way. My older son instantly declared that he wanted to help me but “seeing blood makes uncontrollable tears come out of my eyes” so he started gathering wet paper towels, bandages, and bacitracin to deliver to me. My younger son grabbed my unharmed hand and lead me to the couch, calmly saying “It’s okay, you’ll be fine! Come! Rest for a bit!” In about a minute flat, he’d set up pillows, blankets, and handed me the remote, offering to turn on whatever episode of Curious George I wanted to see. My older son, the more high-strung of the two, even offered to call 9-1-1 for me! I told him thanks, however I was really okay, but I was super impressed that he knew to offer that. My younger son drew me a picture of myself with a sliced hand, and circled the injury saying “this is where the cut is on your body, but it’s small compared to the rest of you, and your body is already working hard at healing it.”
For the first time in seven years, I wasn’t the one doing the care-taking. My sons, who usually spend their after school hours playing outside and/or fighting with each other, banded together, abandoned what they were working on, and helped me without hesitation. I got a glimpse of what I’ve always hoped was true: I am getting through to them! In all the chaos, noise, and stress of parenting two young boys, some proof that they are, in fact, listening and internalizing that which I’m trying so hard to teach them. Now, don’t think this moment of parenting nirvana lasted too long– once they realized I’d be fine after a couple band-aids and a five-minute break, the sibling bickering and complaints about dinner resumed, of course. However, it was very exciting to have this reassurance that they are, in fact, listening.