So, this week I received a call from the front desk at the local primary school.
The second call within the last 10 days.
“Child #2 has fallen on her elbow.”
“And she won’t move it.”
Sick bay was awful when I was at school. You were dragged there by your buddies when the top layers of your skin were mashed with bitumen and dirt. There were lashings of mercurochrome. Followed by a nit check. And then the nurse would either march you back to class looking like a red afro clown. Or sent you home for “treatment.”
Which I think may have been washing your hair with kerosene.
Either way, everyone teased you for either:
A – being soft
B – looking stupid
Or C – being the dirty kid with nits.
And you ate lunch by yourself for a few days.
Or until the next kid fell over.
But sick bay is different these days. And my middle has developed a liking to the pastel shaded room with the little bed and the soft pillow.
After the first fall, 10 days ago, she lay there in sick bay. Refusing to move her arm. And in doing so, landed herself in ED for a few hours. After subjecting her growth plates to 4 bouts of radiation, I whispered to the lovely radiographer with the accent –
“I think we’re good.”
My middle howled when she realised there would be no plaster. 20 minutes of tears and a zoo-zoo pet later, we journeyed home.
So when the phone call came through last friday that my middle was laying on the little bed again, it was agreed that an ice-pack, a patterned band-aid and a return to the grade 1 classroom was the appropriate course of action.
She was not impressed.
And there were tears on the way home.
About the pain in her arm.
About being dragged away from her favourite little room.
About wanting to leave this family.
It went on for hours. Not even settled with complex carbohydrates.
My patience gone. My “conscious parenting” not working. I had a headache.
And maybe an ulcer.
Through her screams and her tears and her snot I matched her in volume.
“What is it that you want?”
Stunned by the question, she simply stared at me. And through me.
“You have a choice. Every single time you open your mouth, you have a choice. As to what kind of words come out. Happy words or nasty words. Truthful words or lying words. Angry words or gentle words.”
And sometimes maybe no words at all.
“It’s up to you to decide what it is that you want.”
The silence of her processing softening her scowls and her sniffs.
“Waking up to life is what we were born for.” – Danna Faulds.
Think forward bends, bastrika and antar mouna (inner silence).
They say happiness is a choice. We can choose to have rainbows flying out our ears and all that jazz.
But sitting in shit is choice too.
Whether it’s hiding in sick bay, hiding from your boss, hiding from your partner.
You are in fact denying a part of yourself.
As we mindfully watch our words, watch our thoughts, watch our actions – we in turn slow to observe the process of ourselves rather than the projection of ourselves.
It’s kinda hard. When the schoolyard is watching. To fall. To hurt. To be in pain.
No matter how old you are.
But by not shying away from where you are allows for you to become who you are.
I watched my middle last night, around the pizza table. She opened her mouth with her mind – then stopped herself – and closed it just as fast.
Then she spoke slower. Kinder. More considered.
And in doing so, opened her mouth with her heart.