Monday, September 3, 2012

Wanted: Greater Compassion

 The rain tapered off today and I decided the boys needed a proper "airing out."  So we ventured over to the Starkey Park nature trails.  The boys (all four) enjoyed exploring the woods and spotting wildlife.

Connor let out a wail and then yanked on my arm.  In between sobs and gasps for air he blubbered, "I stepped on a yellow jacket."

I whipped around and pulled up his foot.  One toe appeared red and puffy.  I ran to the computer and searched yellow jacket stings and remedies.  

Wash.  Ice. Baking Soda. Ibuprofen.  

Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.

While I tended to his injury, Connor continued to moan and carry on at a level equal to any trauma one victim.

At first I nursed his wound with care and offered sympathetic hugs and soothing affirmations.  But after the twentieth time (and an hours worth) of hearing him scream, "This is the worst pain I've ever experienced in my whole entire life," I lost it.  

Secretly I wanted to say, "Let's talk pain when you deliver a 9 lb. 8 oz. baby."  But instead, I let words fall from my lips that were equally insensitive.  Before I could stop myself I said,  "Well Connor, I guess you haven't lived long enough."


How I longed for a "redo" button!  Since when did I turn into such an uncompassionate mom?

The thing is I am compassionate with my some areas.  My heart breaks in a million pieces when I watch them experience hurts from friends or disappointments at school.  But somewhere along the way I've lost my compassion for their injuries (the non-life threatening sort).

I pondered when it happened.  

Perhaps it developed from my years with my ER doc husband.  I've heard his stories.  I know the nature of a true emergency.  I've heard him say, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."  Certainly, a yellow jacket sting can't compare with a car accident or an embolism.

Or just maybe it's because they're boys.  Deep down, do I hold an expectation that boys take pain "like a man."  If I had daughters, would I coddle them more?  Allow them to feel pain as deeply and freely as they wanted?

Whatever the case, I felt bad about my reaction and pulled Connor into a hug.  I listened to him moan for a bit and then whispered, "Connor, if your injury is this serious, maybe we should consider canceling your play date for the morning so you can rest your toe."

The tears vanished and the moans stopped.  Just like that, he experienced a miraculous recovery.

Found these Batman socks on the $1 rack at Target.  Collin was giddy when I gave him the socks.  It's the little things, right?

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