Being a mom can be a tough job. Last night, during story time, Liam (who was wandering around a bit) tripped over my leg and fell, head first, into my face. The back of his head hit me right in the teeth. Ouch. It hurt. A lot. I didn’t know how badly either of us was hurt, but my mouth was definitely bleeding and my teeth hurt a ton. I asked Dan to check on Liam (who was fine, other than a bit of a bonk on the back of the head) and before I could even get to the bathroom, my lips were swollen pretty badly. I had two split lips, a very sore front tooth, a lot of swelling and pain and a sore neck. It was not my most favorite moment from story time.
My mouth hurt enough to not really be able to determine the full extent of my injury, but it wasn’t “rush to the ER” kind of bad, so I got an ice pack, and poked my head back in the boys’ room to check on Liam (who was fine). Dan asked if I was ok, and (through my split, swollen lips and an ice pack) I mumbled, “Don’t know”. I went back to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, checked things out in the mirror and went back in for the end of story time. My face hurt, and my lips were still bleeding a little, but I was mostly worried about my teeth, which hurt a lot.
After stories (which Dan read, because I could barely talk), B looked at me and asked, “Mommy, are you ok?” and I repeated my earlier answer, a very mumbled, “Don’t know yet”. To which he responded (very bravely), “Are you going to die?” *
Ok. Oops. That was me, completely forgetting that a 4 year old’s version of “are you ok?” is not the same as mine. I was worried about damage to my teeth, how silly I was going to look the next morning, and whether or not I was going to need a trip to the dentist in the next few days. Benjamin was, in fact, keeping a much better perspective. He meant “are you going to be ok” in the greater sense. And, of course, I will be.
So, I told him, “Yes, honey, I’m ok. I’m hurting, my face is sore, but I’m going to be ok. Tomorrow or the next day, I’m going to feel just fine.”
And, today, I really am fine. My teeth are still a little achy, and my lips hurt a lot, but the swelling is down and I think I escaped significant injury. Which serves to highlight how overly dramatic I was being, without intending to be or realizing it. Benjamin kept the wiser perspective, though, and did a great job reminding me of how “ok” I really am.
* As a note, B was unfortunately informed about death and dying much earlier and more abruptly than I would have liked this past summer when one of our horses had to be put down due to an acute, serious illness. And, owing to the urgency and geography involved, I ended up having the conversation, in which I made the decision to put her down, in the car, in front of both kids. Ever since then, he’s had a lot of questions, and has been more worried about, and aware of, mortality than I would have liked him to be at 4.