An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.
Until I had a son, I had no idea that skulls looked like big ping pong balls. He was 16 months old and he’d tripped and fallen head first, ramming his little noggin into the edge of a window sill. Two decades later, the toddler is gone but the scar lingers. It is a reminder of the first really scary event in my life as a mother to a boy. There would be more to come. When he’s outside a lot, the rest of his handsome face tans but the scar never does. Recently, in one of those increasingly rare moments between us, he let down his guard and I traced the pale line with my finger and told him the story of how he got it.
I remember the ER nurse strapping him onto a board so the doctor could suture the wound closed. I stood next to my scared, wailing, very bloody boy attempting to offer some comfort. He thrashed and struggled against the restraints while blood, a LOT of blood, flowed. I was pretty brave until I saw the needle and thread. And then the room began to spin. The nurse told me to sit down and put my head between my legs. Like I had a choice.
Fast forward three years….
It was time for a vaccine. Promises of Power Rangers for Good Boys were made. There were certain non-negotiable terms to which he agreed. We went to the clinic and sat in the waiting room near the large aquarium. While we admired the fish, we discussed which of the Power Rangers (Red? Blue?) he would choose. I calmly reiterated what my expectations were. We talked about shots and how the “poke” would hurt a little more than a mosquito bite but only last for a couple of seconds. He refused to make eye contact.
We were escorted into the examining room and the child who just moments before had been sweet and agreeable became a tiny, crazed Ninja who proceeded to first kick, and then spit at the nurse. The doctor entered the room to the scene of a lunatic child running in circles around the examining table while simultaneously tearing strips of white paper off the roll attached to it.
The young doctor, undaunted, appeared to enjoy a challenge. A chase ensued. However, after his third attempt to catch the boy destroying his examining room, he stopped and looked at me. I explained that it was that first experience with doctors and stitches that had turned my child into the Wild Thing. “Good to know” he replied, “because I was going to ask you if you wanted me to administer a sedative.”
My son, a wad of white paper balled into each fist, made one final circle and ran into the dinosaur decal pasted on the wall. I turned to the doctor and replied, “I guess that depends. Upon whom do you plan to administer it?” Because I was really, really hoping he meant me.
Boys get hurt. They get scrapes and cuts and broken bones. They bleed. They fall off of their bikes and get smacked in the head with baseball bats and get into accidents. This is a fact. Even the moms who behave like the fainting goats at the fair get used to the blood and gore that living with sons brings. I thought I’d worked the last shift with my son until last summer. Oh, wisdom teeth. How could I have overlooked you?
I was called back into active duty the day he went in for oral surgery. He was disoriented when they led me to him in the recovery room. Groggy and in pain, he would try to sit up, groan, lay back down and fall immediately asleep. For about four seconds. Then, he’d wake up and start all over again. I was instructed by the nurse to keep him still, and that the gauze pack was to stay in his mouth. This makes talking difficult, but not impossible. He talked through the sedatives and around the gauze when he wasn’t trying to spit it out. My job was to keep him still, and calm, and quiet and well, there until the effects of the general anesthetic had worn off completely.
Imagine a large Panda. Now imagine a large, intoxicated Panda.
At one point, when the nurse got after him for moving around and not being quiet, he tried to stand up to leave. He was going to challenge the nurse…walk right through her, if necessary. Luckily, even in his drugged panda stupor, the only tool a mother truly needs in many situations worked.
One look. THE look. And two words spoken loudly, with authority.
And he did, this wild Panda Boy of mine.
The Good Lord bestowed fertility to women for only a few years of their lives. If fifty year old women could have babies, that would mean that they’d all be in their seventies by the time they were called into the ring to wrestle those giant, drunk, wisdom tooth-less pandas. This would be bad. Very, very bad.
The Lord also knew that when it comes down to it, it isn’t physical strength that matters as much in the raising of sons as it is the ability to give that stony, “I mean business and you will be very, very sorry if you don’t do exactly what it is I am asking of you at this very moment” look.
Which is proof, once again, that God is probably a Mother.