This week a friend shared with me how her toddler grandson fell while visiting her. He slipped and hit his head on a stone step causing quite a bump, or as my kids called it, an “umpalumpa” (with apologies to the Wizard of Oz folks.)
I felt her pain as well as his.
I don’t know why, but whenever my kids got hurt most times I’d give them seven seconds of sympathy and then I’d tell them to “Suck it up.” This is why my son, at age eight, walked around for nearly three days on a broken foot. He “sucked it up” big time.
I supsect this is because I’ve always had a hard time determining what is a serious injury and what is not.
I refer to the blog “Hospital-ity Not” ( http://ocactiveseniors.com/2010/09/30/hospital-ity-not/) where I tried to put my knee back together with Strawberry Shortcake band-aids…it took 43 stitches to close the wound.
One of the reasons I decided it was imperative to just give them as little attention as possible when they got hurt was because of my first experience with a scalp wound, which, by the way was not my last.
Number One Son (and he’s the only son) fell out of a tree house at the local community pool and landed on his head. He was just a little over four years old. Within what seemed like seconds, the hood of his terry-cloth sweatshirt was soaked through with blood. I picked him up and literally ran to the lifeguard station, the whole time convinced that there would be grey matter mixed in with the bright red blood. The Pool Manager immediately called 911 and off we went in an ambulance. I was barefoot and wearing a beach cover-up and had abandoned my two girls (ages 2.5 and five months) to the safe-keeping of my best friend at the time, who was there with me. For the record, I was standing right there when he catapulted to the ground…with the baby in the stroller and his sister hanging out with little playmates under the treehouse.
The end of the story? My son got one stitch and I got a lecture…and a prescription for a tranquilizer. Thankfully, he didn’t have a concussion and he survived far better than I did. From then on, a scrape on the scalp was met with “Go put ice on it and don’t drip on the rug on your way into the kitchen.”
However, now that I have grandchildren I find I must bite my tongue whenever one of them gets hurt.
My children give me a stink-eye like you can’t believe should I even mutter to myself ”Oh my God!” when one of them takes a header off a bike or skateboard or some other piece of equipment that I personally consider to be far too dangerous for anyone under the age of 18 to be using. At least if they are my grandchildren. I have been known to have to leave a room when one of them is crying because they are hurt because it is all I can do to not run over and scoop them up and do all the things I rarely did with my own. For some reason, even the littlest bump that causes them to weep is like a knife in my heart.
One of my favorite things to say is “I would kill for my children, but I would take out entire nations for my grandchildren!” …and it’s true. And I’ll bet any grandparent reading this would say the same thing.
I share with you something my dear friend, Joan, mother of four wonderful women and grandmother to five fantastic grandsons, sent to me. I liked it so much I also posted it on the website under “Grandparenting.” Truer words were never spoken. And I’m not even Irish.