“Mommy, there’s blood!” delivered with a shaky, panicked, high-pitched five-year old oice, are not exactly the words you want to hear in the middle of Sears.
Sure enough, there it was: On her jacket sleeve, on her hands, and, as I discovered after what felt like an hour of searching for the source, pouring out of her nose.
“Oh!” I exclaimed, not hiding my surprise too well and Thalia started crying a little harder. “Oh. No. Wait, honey…it’s just a bloody nose. You’re okay! You’re okay. Let’s go find a bathroom.”
I must say, seeing gobs of vibrantly red blood gush out of your daughter’s face is pretty much terrifying. All things considered, I’d give my reaction a solid B+, losing one point for my initial surprise and a second for not having any wipes or tissues or towels in my handbag. I tried to keep my voice clear and calm and I stayed in control. My mind flashed back to a woman in a baby store in Santa Monica years ago, whose year-old baby was playing with my year-old baby, before hers fell about 18″ off a ride-on toy to the carpet. Her reaction was so overwrought and hysterical I remember thinking she was making it worse.
As we crouched in the dingy bathroom, wiping off her face, her hands, her jacket (thanks for the Excellent wipe-clean construction, Hanna Andersson!) with the disintegrating wet toilet paper, damn those air dryers, I reassured her that she was okay, that it was okay, that the winter will do that to you, that I got bloody noses when I was pregnant sooooo many times that it was ridiculous, and wouldn’t this be a great story to go home and tell Daddy and Sage?
A manager was kind enough to come to our rescue with a wad of paper hand towels (thank you Irene!), and within about 20 minutes, Thalia was back to her charming self, telling the sales clerks about the beauty salon she wanted for Christmas. (Oy.)
But: “Mommy, there’s blood…”
I never want to hear those words again.
When my kids hurt or ail in any way, I can’t help but go to a very dark place. My mind flickers to those scary thoughts (what if she really is sick?) the ones (what if it wasn’t just from the weather?) we parents (what if this is the beginning of something bad?) of healthy kids do our best shake out of our heads (Oh God, I remember reading a story once about…) nearly as fast as they enter.
As if thinking it will make it so.
So instead we reassure our children that they are fine, that it’s no big deal, that kids get bloody noses all the time.
Because saying it out loud will make it so.
Sometimes I need these little reminders of how blessed I am–or whatever the Atheist Jew version of blessed might be. Whatever challenges I have right now, I have two healthy kids. We have a roof over our heads. We can afford the name-brand cereal this year. We can afford holiday gifts this year and maybe even some for other people. We have teachers we love. We have family we love. And the heat is on, even if it’s giving us bloody noses.