Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Skinned knees

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
Mother Teresa

Our summer clothes came out of hiding this past weekend.  Shorts, t-shirts and sandals all made an appearance, as did a little floral 'skort' that was handed-down to Pip from her cousin.  We were heading to the beach, so I was carrying an armload of bags, water-bottles, hats and keys as I descended the back stairs.  I saw Pip run across the grass toward me, trip on her new slightly-too-large sandals and fall face-first on the concrete sidewalk.

Now, I admire those moms who casually say, "Brush it off  Buddy, you're okay," when their children get hurt, but in this instance, I was not one of those moms.  I dropped everything in my arms and galloped down the remaining stairs toward Pip.  I think I even said something incredibly unhelpful like, "Oooooooooooooo that was a bad one!!!"

As a mother, I try to appear calm on the outside, but inside it's a different story.  My heart was racing when I peeled Pip off of the pavement and tried to get a look at her face.  "Where does it hurt, honey?"  She lifted her knee.  It was skinned.  That was all.  No lost teeth, no broken bones, just a little scrape on the knee. 

I was much calmer in a crisis when I was a teacher; when it was other people's children getting hurt.  One snowy winter day I was supervising the primary playground when a young lad named Parmvir hit his chin on the monkey bars and his two adult front teeth flew out of his mouth, into the snow.  White teeth; white snow.  After I had ascertained that Parmvir was alright, I calmly organized the children into tooth-hunting teams: "Follow the little trails of blood," I suggested.

The teeth were found in short order, and Parmvir went to the hospital with his pearly whites in a Ziploc baggie.  The E.R. doctor actually asked why I hadn't replaced the teeth myself!  "Better chance of the roots taking,"  he said.Hmmmm.  Not sure if I would've been up for that. 

This morning Pip's scrape has turned into a neat row of scabs.  I asked her how her knee was and she said, "Mama, my dad told me a story about when he fell of a horse and his braving has made me brave.  I'm a brave girl now, Mama."

Yes you are little Pip.  Now if only I could get a dose of that braving.