Last night, I was sitting at my mom’s computer, finishing up my blog post, while Dan and my mom got the kids into their pajamas. From upstairs, I heard a crash and a gasp from my mom, followed by some serious crying from B. I waited a moment, but by the time my mom called me, I was already on my way up the stairs — too much time had passed since the crash and no one had called out “it’s ok”, like I expected. I knew it was bad.
I tore up the stairs, and found Benjamin, in Dan’s arms, with blood on his face and chest. Dan said we needed to go to the hospital for stitches, and I took B to the bathroom to clean him up. When I was able to get a good look, I found a small, but quite open, laceration on his chin.
My first reaction was to fall apart myself. I was holding my screaming, frantic child, and I was imagining him with an awful scar that would make him feel sad and insecure about his appearance one day. But, other than the bleeding wound on his chin, he seemed ok. His teeth were ok, his eyes were fine, no apparent broken bones or missing appendages.
He was distraught, bleeding, in pain, and completely freaked out. My first priority immediately became calming him down while we prepared to go to the hospital.
As we got organized, and as he calmed down, I regained a little perspective. Really, life was good. My poor baby had a major boo-boo (ow-a, in Austria) but in the greater sense, it’s not really a big deal. I knew we’d take him to the hospital, the doctors would fix him up, and he’d recover completely. At worst, he’ll have a small scar on his chin that probably won’t be noticed by anyone, ever. I doubt he’ll ever feel particularly bothered by it, and it’s possible it’ll heal so well that he will have to be reminded that it even happened. The much larger trauma would be to have his mom fall apart, right when he needs me to calm and comfort him.
We went to the hospital, and they fixed him up. (He got glue instead of stitches, though.) It was hard on him when the glue was applied (we had to hold him down) but it was a quick process, and by the time we got home (less than 2 hours after the injury) he said that it felt “great” and he told the story of his ER visit without sounding traumatized.
All is well. He’s going to be fine. And I realized that my initial panic about him having a scar came principally from an old issue of mine — wanting everything to be perfect. It’s not that I want Benjamin to be perfect — I’m his mom, and I already think he’s even better than perfect — it’s that I want to be perfect myself and I’m assuming he’ll feel the same way one day. Knowing that he might have a scar, I think into the future and imagine that it will make him sad. But, will it? Probably not — especially if he’s lucky enough to grow up without unreasonably wishing for his own physical perfection. He is wonderful and beautiful, with or without a scar, so me being freaked out about it helps nothing. It’s my issue, not his, and it’s not something I want to pass on to him. (Another part of my own unhappiness comes from feeling guilty that I couldn’t, and didn’t, protect him from getting hurt. That doesn’t realty do anything to help him, either.)
All is well. He will recover. I’m so sorry he got hurt, and scared, but I am so happy that he was feeling better so quickly afterwards. I am so grateful that we have such quick access to excellent medical care, and that my mom was able to watch Liam so that we could both go with B. I’m not going to waste my energy worrying about whether he’ll one day be sad about a boo-boo he got when he turned 4 — I’ll spend it instead helping him feel good now.