Wednesday, May 06, 2009

a war story of her own

The car was quiet, save for the patter of rain on the windshield and the swooshing of wet tires speeding over wet roads. Quiet is not a normal occurrence in my life, especially not with both children in the car, and one having been caffeinated on an afternoon play date to boot. But today, it was eerily quiet, and it didn't take much to determine why. Bub was getting her pins out this afternoon, and both children were more than a little apprehensive.

For as brave as my daughter is in some areas, she is as proportionately a spaz in others. When people ask me why we've still not pierced her ears, I tell them the story of getting her five-year shots prior to entering kindergarten. I describe how the nurse put numbing cream on both arms, assuring her she wouldn't feel a thing. I tell them about how this same nurse (who, I might add, should be fired, or better yet, shot), gave her the worst shot first, which, coincidentally, cannot be administered through said numbing cream. Then, I describe how it took three nurses and forty-five minutes to get the last three shots into my daughter's arms. No, we'll not be piercing her ears anytime soon.

So, this same child went today to have her pins removed, after hearing war stories from every child in her fourth grade class about what it feels like to have pins pulled out. "It feels like someone twisting a door knob," Chloe explained. Domenic warned her, "There will be a lot of blood." Every child had a story, and each story was worse than the one before. I began to think perhaps I should have kept her home for a month.

When we were at the hospital, at the beginning of this little adventure, I chalked her hysterics and irrationality up to adrenaline and shock, mixed with a little morphine and the lack of anything to eat for the last several hours. I didn't expect to see that response from her again. I don't know what I was thinking.

As soon as the nurse began unknotting the sling, my daughter began to tremble, shaking from head to toe. They hadn't even touched her yet. When the nurse began to take off the bandages in order to take her back for x-rays, Bub began rocking and crying, telling her she didn't want to see it or take it out. Worried this trembling child was going to throw up on her, the nurse kicked the caretaking up a notch, talking her through each step and checking how she was doing with every new movement. Once assured that my daughter was not nauseous, just panicked, she began moving her toward the x-rays. "What are they gonna do, Momma? Is it going to hurt? What is it going to feel like? I don't want them to touch it, Momma." And then there was my Buddy, right behind me, reminding me, "Momma, I think we should pray…"

How my daughter managed to be so like me yet so unlike me is completely beyond my comprehension. I wouldn't have been caught dead at the top of a rope ladder, let alone climbing down it head first. That is her father's gene pool, through and through. Adventurous, athletic, and a little bit of a dare devil—they are two peas in the same pod. Fear doesn't really enter the equation, or at least it hasn't up until this point. But then there is my genetic contribution—the active imagination, the rapid-cycling what-ifs, the quiet, pent-up worry that is unable to be silenced with logic or rational thought, not to mention the powerful, insurmountable instinct to avoid pain at all possible costs. This is where my influence can be found.

My mom will readily tell you, nodding her head in my direction, "She was the same way." And she will tell you with an amused, slightly condescending smirk on her face, because I don't get it from my mother. My father is the worrier of the two, and she teases us both, though he gets the worst of it. And so it goes that my daughter, in this predicament because of the Rees genes, freaks out about it as a result of the Kaufman genes.

When it was all said and done, she confessed, over sundaes at Max and Erma's, "I don't know what I got so upset about. That really wasn't that big of a deal."

"You let your worried thoughts get the best of you," I responded, thumping her forehead, and she nodded, embarrassed and slightly amused with herself.

We will continue to work, in the days and months and years to come, on pushing back these thoughts. Fighting back with truth. Staying present in the moment. But for today, we're just glad it's over. I tucked her in to bed with the same prayer I've prayed every night since Palm Sunday—that the lessons learned here will stick. Obedience. Good judgment. Taking our thoughts captive. Trusting those who are caring for you. May they guide her actions in the years to come.

She's sleeping soundly now, spent after our two hour ordeal. She's propped the pillows back around her unsplinted arm, feeling vulnerable and uncertain. Her breath is full and deep, and her face is peaceful, all traces of worry erased. We've come full circle, and now, finally, all is quiet again.


Cindy said...

fantastic. utterly fantastic. The writing I mean..well, and the pin removal. :)

No way in hell am I going to write now.

lorie said...

Bullpuckey! Get back to your computer! Write! Write! WRITE!!!