Lessons from my daughter #17.
My baby girl has her first google egg! It seems to be a far more momentous occasion for me than it has been for her. I’m sure she has forgotten all about it but the evidence is there on her forehead to remind me each day. I thought the culprit would be the tiles that she has a habit of face planting but no, surprisingly it was the dining chair. Too tired for her highchair I sat her on my lap last week to feed her the last few bites of dinner when she suddenly threw her head back, arched over my arm and smacked her forehead on the corner of the chair next to us.
And oh how she howled! I’m quite sure she was determined to let the whole neighbourhood know how much pain she was in and how much of a trauma this was. I would have thought it overkill except that the large black and purple splotch on her head swelled up immediately giving an air of credibility to the tears. It was a good five minutes before the storm passed and the little hiccuppy breaths evened out. Then she tucked her head into the crook of my arm and fell asleep.
I’m sick with a head cold today. As I write I am sitting at the train station with Miss L asleep in the car seat, waiting for Hubs to finish work so we can all go home to bed. It has been a long day. It has been a long week, in fact, full of house cleaning, car washing, resume writing, uni assignment helping and cooking and it has taken its toll. I am tired from over exertion and lack of sleep and bruised from stumbling against the cot during the night. Everything hurts.
But as bad as I feel and no matter how many bruises I accumulate, I know I will heal. These war wounds are superficial. In fact, there is no external evidence whatsoever apart from a tiny scar on my shoulder where an IV line was stitched in that the last nine months of my life ever happened. The real scars are on the inside and they came not as the result of sticks or stones or heart attacks but from words. Well meaning words like…
“Aren’t you lucky that you didn’t have open heart surgery and end up with a scar.”
“Oh, but you’ll make a full recovery.”
“My (insert some form of relative) had a heart attack and they were back at work the month after.”
“Shouldn’t you be watching your cholesterol now?”
These words hurt. Oh, how they hurt. I’m sure they were never meant to cut so deeply but for me they disregard the physical, mental and emotional struggle that I am learning to live with. They disregard the fact that, in my case, the heart attack was only the symptom of a condition that struck at random. I did nothing wrong, I was fit and healthy and I had a dream pregnancy. There was no family history and there was no warning. And, hardest of all, there are no guarantees for the future.
Miss L is back on her feet, back launching herself across the floor as she learns to stand and reach and walk as if nothing had happened. Her bruise has almost faded away. It is the first of many, many accidents and bumps and scratches that I will patch up over the coming years and this one, like all those ahead, will not slow her down one second. The only thing that slows my daughter down is my stern voice telling her to stop!
It is that same voice that echoes in my head, that repeats all those words that hurt me so, that stops me in my tracks. But I realised today, watching my brave girl, that words only have the power to hurt when you latch on to them, when they become the soundtrack that plays when no one else is around. It’s time to change track.
I am strong.
I am resilient.
I am still recovering.
I am alive.
I have my own words and I can choose whether they hurt or whether they heal.