Band Aids and Presence
If you are a mother of a young child, you likely keep a stash of band-aids handy. Children who are just learning to walk and navigate the world have a way of consistently injuring themselves and finding themselves in need of a mother’s kiss and a band aid.
My children are getting older and I am finding them less in need of my magical kisses, but still in frequent need of band aids, colored with brightly cheerful cartoon characters for my younger children and the staid, practical flesh colored sort for my oldest son. I marvel at the simple impact of placing a bandage atop a scrape or other injury and find that it often quickly quiets the sniffles and complaints. As a mother and a nurse, I find myself keeping little stashes of band aids everywhere- in the car, in the kitchen and in my purse. They are at hand everywhere that we may go.
I recently tripped in my driveway and fell quite hard, hard enough in fact to scrape the entirety of my forearms, both knees and an ankle and covering a good section of the concrete in my own blood. It was terribly uncomfortable and I admit that I found myself fighting back tears as I washed out the wounds. My husband and all three of my children were home, but no one apparently had heard my gaffe in the driveway(somehow I always hear or see their falls and scrapes and injuries and they never hear or see mine!) and I was alone in the bathroom, bathing my scrapes and attempting to bandage some awkward areas without having help. I found myself feeling a bit lonely and wondering why no one seemed to care or acknowledge when I was hurt.
Just as those sorry thoughts appeared in my head my youngest daughter, 6 year-old Emory, appeared next me. Her face was aghast as she took in my injuries and placed her hand on my arm. She didn’t say a word- simply standing next to me and looking at me as though she would take away my discomfort in an instant. I could feel the pain seeping out of me suddenly, as if by magic. And, it made me remember that the magic of motherhood was never about the kisses or the band-aids in the first place. I wonder if maybe the magic is in the presence of another human being who is willing to stand beside you and bear your pain as if it were their own. If the magic in is the soft cadence of their voice soothing your weary soul. If the magic is in knowing that you don’t have to face this moment of pain alone.
As adults, we tend to hold each other to the unspoken tenants of adulthood- courage, managing your own problems without complaint, responsibility. But, maybe- as adults and as children- each of us needs moments where we can drop our problems messily upon the floor for all to see, bear our injuries- both physical and emotional- boldly outward and have someone, anyone, just be present with us and bear that moment of pain. That simple presence is an emotional tourniquet, the likes of which will never be trumped by a piece of plastic and cloth.