Last Friday, I took the girls to the doctor. Caroline had to get a flu shot, and if she was brave, she knew there was a cookie waiting for her on the other end. She patiently waited, and got the shot without even crying. It was a moment of bravery and she had a shiny silver bandaid as a trophy across her thigh to prove what a big girl she was. I was so proud of her. She had conquered painful things with a little motivation and willpower.
Then it all unraveled. She never wanted to take her band-aid off. We’re post-band-aid placement day 4 and there have been tears every time she has had to expose her wound—pulling her pants down to go to the bathroom and changing into her jammies. We postponed bath night by 3 days because she couldn’t handle the thought. If her pants were off, she needed to cover the area with a towel, and suddenly developed a limp. Today it came time to rip off the band-aid and jump in the tub (because 10 days is long enough to go without bathing). You would think she broke her femur from the screams.
Having a 3 year old that cries every time she falls, I’ve learned to ask her if she hurt her body or her emotions. I’m trying to teach her to understand the difference between the two types of pain. But this time there was no need to ask. This is 100% emotional, she is just giving it a physical outlet.
I wish I knew all that was going on in her mind, what was causing this intense need for security. Clearly, she has had the rug pulled out from under her, but if that is what’s driving this, it’s the first real manifestation of the pain of losing her father, and it seems to be a late and sudden start. Regardless of the cause, I appreciate the clear picture of what is going on in my heart. Often I teach my kids life lessens, only to repeat them to myself. Be patient. Pray for comfort. Look to others for strength. Have faith. Remember all the times in the past when that shot hurt, but over time stopped bleeding and the pain subsided.
Caroline went to preschool this morning wearing shorts. I hope that she will see that she is able to run and play without hinderance from her once-wounded leg. I’ll continue to talk to her about it– both the shot and her daddy. Not forgetting the pain, but talking through it, praying for healing, remembering why we miss him so much, and hoping we don’t get the flu.