Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Not Forgetting

When Lennon gets hurt, I do my best to dress the wound and take care of her the best way I know how. I realize there is more to first aid than stopping the flow of blood and preventing infection. Her emotional needs must also be addressed. She is immediately attended to, and she is given kisses and hugs and I am careful to make sure all the tears are carefully wiped away before I tell her she can go back to playing. She is given a touch of antibacterial ointment, and a fresh Hello Kitty band-aid, and I reassure her that falls and cuts happen to everyone, and it's okay to cry when they do. Sometimes we have to talk about prevention after I take care of her cut. Knives are for mommies and daddies, so next time you want to cut an apple, let one of us know. Stairs are not for jumping, so next time you go down, make sure to walk slowly. That's why we don't throw rocks. And so on.

Sometimes Lennon could use a little extra love and attention after a particularly bad scrape. I understand this, and I do what every good mom does: I give her an extra hug and kiss, and then I provide her with ways to move forward from the fall. If I let her, she would sit in my lap all day, focusing on the pain. So sometimes I distract her with a game. Sometimes I pretend she lost an arm, exaggerating the trauma until she looks at me and says, "You're weird" and then walks away laughing. Sometimes I ask her what she needs to feel better. It's usually a cookie. So we go get one.

If I sat with her, rubbing antibacterial ointment in the wound forcefully and endlessly, the cut would never heal. It might even make new problems. If I constantly reminded her of how hurt she was, she would have a hard time moving on from it. She wouldn't want to try new things. She would live in fear.

I can't do that. I love her too much.


I repeated a joke that, to some, went too far. I was given feedback. I appreciated the feedback. I decided that, despite feedback, I was okay with repeating a joke that goes too far, because the poor taste of the joke is part of what made it so funny. Hyperbole is an effective tool for assessing our cultural taboos, and one's gut reaction to it can help to define our emotions, and even evolve into new ones. Plus, the joke made fun of drunk girls.


I don't think I've ever shared my story of 9/11. Everyone has one.

I was a junior in college at the time. I had woken up early that day, because my roommate had left the light on when she went to class. I decided to get ready earlier than usual and grab a bite to eat on campus. As I got ready, I put on the Today Show. I didn't normally watch The Today Show. I can't tell you why I watched that morning. I don't know. It doesn't feel that important, but I mention it, because it's part of the story. I was combing my hair when the first plane hit. They reported on it, pondering on how an accident like that could happen. Then I watched live, as the second plane hit. And we all realized that it wasn't an accident. I remember Katy Couric's face. I started to feel sick. I didn't call anyone though. I just sat on my bed, thinking about all the people who had someone to call. I thought about what it would feel like to not know if your loved one was in that building. I thought about what it would feel like to know they were. I cried. That day, I went to class and found out they had cancelled it. On the bus ride home, an older woman with a few shopping bags told me she was waiting to hear from her son-in-law, who worked on Wall Street. I didn't know what to say, so I said "I'm sorry." She said, "Why?" I said, "I don't know. Because he probably had to take a lot of math to be able to work there?" She laughed. Then she looked like she might cry. I felt bad. I went home and cried again, and then my roommate and I watched Raising Arizona. It was a weird day.


witticism here said...

This is a lot of awesomeness.

Katy said...

This post summs up some of the best parts of Renee. Kind, compassionate, inappropriate and sarcastic. This is why you're so great.

Michelle said...

Everything is made better with a Hello Kitty band-aid, right?

And it's a good reminder I think to hear everyone's 9/11 stories. I was little when it happened (4th grade) and it didn't really strike me as anything terrible or catastrophic because I didn't know anyone who lived near there, or because of something like that. So every time I hear someone else's story it reminds me of how truly scary that time was. It's weird how much perspective changes your thoughts of a situation...

amber and alma said...

Lennon is lucky to have a great mom who doesn't say "Suck it up" when she gets hurt.

Wow someone who reads your blog was in 4th grade on 9/11. I'm old.

I was in nursing school and it was my first day of my hospice rotation. I was getting ready for clinic when we saw that same Today show footage.
I spent the rest of the day making visits to homes of those people who were dying and making sure their O2 compressors worked and that they had extra O2 tanks in case the Palo Verde power plant was targeted. I agree, it was a weird day.

mrsmouthy said...

Wow, I can't get over Alba and Alma's comment. I was teaching 6th grade at the time, which makes me really, incredibly, almost comically old.

I wish 9/11 never happened. I wish no one ever killed or injured or even gossiped about anyone else. Except for Hollywood gossip magazines, of course.