Sometimes, I forget what it was like to be a boy. I mostly remember the best pieces of my past. I remember times when my dad told me he was proud of me, and when my mom told me she loved me. I remember when dad took the training wheels off of my bike, and when I had my first crush. In my mind, growing up was fun and full of good feelings.
The things I don’t think about frequently are the times when I had blood streaming down my knee because I took a corner too fast or wasn’t watching where I was going. I don’t like to think about the time I split my chin open trying to slide across the kitchen floor with a pillow clutched to my stomach. Losing a tooth was painful and bloody. Climbing a fence and nearly breaking your arm on the way back down is scary.
This is the business of being alive. We are fragile, soft, squishy human-beings.
Boys know this best, and disregard it with utter abandon.
Lately, I have been a nervous wreck around Caleb. Since his recent discovery of running, he has been prancing around on his toes and dashing about the house with the same recklessness we saw when he was walking. The difference being the speed at which his body parts collide with objects. Unfortunately, he didn’t take his cues from his friend Levi, who has a wide, stable stance when he walks/runs. No, Caleb’s gait is chaotic. It’s only a matter of time before he learns the consequences, and that is not something I can easily teach to an 18 month old.
Last night, we came back home from our bible study about three hours past Caleb’s normal bed time. I pulled him out of the car seat and set him on the ground so that he could walk to the door, an event that we are all very accustomed to. I managed to catch up to him just as he was about to scale the concrete steps and I used my super-dad lightning reflexes to keep him from flailing backwards. Shoes and stairs are hard to work with at that age.
Recognizing that he was probably too tired to scale the adult-sized stairs, I lifted him onto the stoop and urged him to go inside. As soon as Caleb was through the door, the ground must have disappeared from beneath him. Both of his feet swept out behind him almost simultaneously and he face planted on the hardwood floor. When I say he face planted, I mean only his knees hit before his face did. His hands were probably already thinking about that soft mattress and were too bothered to worry about anything but sleep.
Before you could say “bloody lip,” Caleb was scooped up, rushed to the kitchen, wiped off, and examined. He barely had time to cry. As a matter of fact, I think he was more shocked at the new taste of blood in his mouth than anything. He really only cried for about a minute before he went to sucking his thumb and watching us curiously while we consulted our phones. It took at least 20 minutes before Caleb let us examine his tongue, and even then we only got quick glances. The damage: A small cut on the upper lip and a small cut on the tip of his tongue.
This morning, Caleb is perfectly fine and Shari tells me that he doesn’t even act like it hurts. Once again, boys just don’t seem to care. I’m going to have to get used to it I suppose. Even now, I’m starting to see some of the humor in the situation, while last night I was a bundle of nerves.
One of the things I couldn’t stop thinking about last night was how different it will be when we are fostering. They say that even a small cut on the lip like that would warrant a trip to the hospital for documentation. Last night, our conversations were about whether we should go to the emergency room, whether we should let him sleep with us, and what can we do to stop the bleeding. If it was a foster kid, our conversations would be whether we will get any sleep, who should fill out the paper work, and whether Covenant Kids would ever trust us with their kids again. I can see how that might seem scary, or inconvenient, but I say bring it on. God, be with us.
If you have made it this far in the post, maybe you have something to say. Do you have a blood and guts story worth sharing? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.