Friday, September 14, 2007

Skinned Knees

The beauty of this life is how God can teach us the most amazing things through the most mundane details. Like skinned knees. I've had two casualties in two days...both bike accidents. It has gotten so messy that I just left my impromptu infirmary set up on the kitchen counter. It all began with Baby LaLa and her raggedy knee. It was hard to say what really happened, or why. I am relatively confident that the "accident" was intentional, knowing how passive aggressive this child can be. Was she angry at me for focusing on the messy shed instead of her? Or was she just a little sad and empty, and feeling like a little attention from Mom might fill up the hole? I know better than to ask her. She wouldn't know. All I know was that I heard her pull up outside the shed door with a quiet whimper. I poked my head out to see what was wrong, and she lurched off her bike with a cry of "Mommmeeeee..." It was the cry of a little child, the one that breaks your heart and scares you all at once. But I also knew that I had sent her to ride her bike for some fresh air and exercise, not three minutes before. Furthermore, I knew she did NOT want said fresh air or exercise. In fact, she had hopped on her bike unwillingly, and taken off at top speed, while wagging her handlebars back and forth as hard and as fast as she could. Her "accident" was a foregone conclusion.

So I escorted her to a chair on the porch, and carefully and gently patched up the mess. She barely cried, though it clearly hurt a great deal, and she was working hard to hold it in. She was also scared, as she was convinced she could see her bone. She could not. I wondered if she was happy with her choice to act recklessly, as I worked on cleaning the wound. I wondered because I have been on the other side of the skinned knee a few times myself. How many times have I done something stupid and self destructive, just because I was angry, or bored, or feeling a little empty and sad? How many times have I sat on the porch, gritting my teeth in pain, knowing it was my own stupidity and rebelliousness that landed me in such pain. How many times have I been afraid to ask for comfort and forgiveness?

My next casualty was Baby Boy...twin two. He was playing follow-the-leader with Little Potatie. The problem with follow-the-leader on bikes, is that only the person in front knows what they are doing. The children following are pretty much driving blind, twisting and turning, eyes on the rider in front of them, and not on the road in front of their own bike. This pretty much equals the occasional wipe out. Twin two hit the dirt pretty hard yesterday. He came into the house shouting for Mom. "I need your help, " he said loudly from the back hallway. I sat him down in a kitchen chair to examine things, and at first it didn't look too bad...mostly a few scrapes and a lot of dirt. I got him a wash rag and sent him into the bathroom with strict instructions to flush ALL the dirt out with warm water. A few minutes later he stumbled back to the kitchen chair, whimpering a bit. The arm, the leg, and the rag were all bloody, and there was still a fair amount of dirt and gravel involved. As I finished the cleanup and began sanitizing the wounds with peroxide, it became clear that his injuries were quite a bit worse than they had appeared when covered in dirt. Stubborn mud and gravel was lodged in the scrapes, which bled enough to keep me from seeing what I was doing. By the time everything was clean, medicated, and wrapped in gauze, Baby boy had been sobbing great sobs, with tears freely flowing. But he never tried to make me stop doing what we both knew needed doing.

Once patched up, he hobbled outside to claim wounded hero status, getting his sisters to pamper him and run for him. Amazing. He had fallen and hurt himself, come searching for help, suffered through treatment, and was now reaping the benefits of a little comfort and coddling. There was no averted eyes, knowing the injury was a result of naughtiness. No holding back tears and sobs, afraid of reprimand. And I don't know much about that side of the skinned knee. I don't usually like to take risks or do something just for the joy of it. And I find it hard to soak up help, and comfort, and coddling, because...well, why? I'm not even sure. It just feels wrong somehow.

But then there is this. Something this weary, worn Mama can take to the bank. When hurting and scared, my children come running, shouting with a loud voice for Mommy. And they sit through the painful operations, trusting me to take care of it..."even if my bone is showing!" In this moment it does not matter who is right, who is wrong...who is emotionally healthy, or not. As beloved children of our Heavenly Father, we should be able to approach confidently. But do I? How many times do I come running, damaged at my own hand, eyes averted in shame. I sit holding my tears in, and try and duck out as soon as I am patched up. But at least I know where to come for patching. That's something. And maybe as I grow up, I'll spend more time in the kitchen chair, sobbing hard while the gravel gets picked out, because I took a risk and did something for the joy of it.


ann-tastic said...

It was reading your post that loosed the pent up tears in me. I too have been averting the Eyes after getting a bad scrape due to my own naughtiness. A good long stay in the chair is the only thing that's gonna work for me. I'm sure more tears will follow..Thank you sister...God is using even the skinned knees..that is why we chose this job, correct??

Anonymous said...

loved this post.
t & k's mom