small things #50 ... band aids
The kids had survived yet another mommy-mandated family walk through the neighborhood. And now they were racing around the cul-de-sac, timing one another on the iPod.
(How is it that they have such boundless energy to frolic and run in a frenzy? Just a few minutes ago there had been such moaning and groaning about having to walk. So. Very. Far. Such astonishing recovery!)
Soon the cul-de-sac was transformed into an Olympic arena complete with chalked starting lines and the cottonwood relay baton to pass from runner to runner. We timed laps, stopped for water breaks and compared neighborhood records.
As the final moments before bedtime ticked by, the kids lined up for one last race around the asphalt. They stood shoulder to shoulder with their toes on the white line waiting for the signal. At "Ready!" they crouched toward the ground. At "Set!" they leaned into their starts. At "Go!" they took off, bending around the asphalt circle together.
And then it happened.
A little jostling, a little bumping, and a whole lot of slow-motion falling.
Brett and I were half-way across the concrete before poor Norah starting shrieking.
Oh, the humanity.
I'll save you the details, but suffice it to say that sweet tender skin and unforgiving rugged asphalt do not mix.
As I gently settled her in the warm bath to clean her knees, hip, elbow and shoulder, she whimpered. And my heart broke. Her wounds were sharp and painful while my efforts seemed inept and clumsy. Her tears were fresh and hot and my attempts to sponge away the road rubble only brought a new wave of tears. She rejected the efforts of her daddy to help - leaving me to face the hard job of dabbing, ointmenting and band aiding. All while swallowing hard against my own waves of distress. (Did I mention that I feel a little like gagging around physical injuries? No? Well, I do.)
Finally Norah was fully band aided and pajama-ed. She gingerly sat on the futon, waiting for our bedtime book. In a tremulous voice she asked about gymnastics the next day.
"Well, we'll just see how you are feeling. Okay?"
She nodded and sniffled.
Fast forward ten minutes into book time ...
Norah had transferred to the floor and was practicing her candlestick and her splits.
A smile and a cartwheel.
It's a miracle!
I had felt rather helpless in the face of her injuries and yet my fumbling and awkward efforts had actually soothed her sorry little self. Or at least the band aids had.
In the same way, I often feel at a loss as to what to say when someone experiences loss and pain, and yet even my most heartfelt, sincere, bumbling words can bring comfort. More than my silence would, at least.
Band aids ... be they camouflaged, Hello Kitty or plain ol' beige - they bring comfort. And so do compassionate, warm and kind words.