Her scraped up knee is bright red with fresh blood. Plump tears roll down her rosy cheeks.
“Okay, ready? It is going to burn but mama will blow on it to help.”
“Okay,” she gets out in the midst of a sob.
I pour the clear peroxide over the freshly scraped up knee so rightfully and bravely earned from her first go around without training wheels. The familiar white bubbles appear as her leg jumps out of reflex and an audible whine escapes her mouth.
“Okay, blow on it with me,” I coax her.
We both gently blow a steady stream of what has to feel like healing cool air onto the foaming and now clean injury.
“Better,” she musters through the slightest of smirks.
We sing a song while we wait for the boo boo to air dry.
“My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake bandage?” I ask.
“Strawberry,” she answers with the faintest little girl accent.
That’s my girl, I think back to my own Strawberry Shortcake curtains and bedding as a kid her age.
I gently place the pink and red bandage over the scrape.
The simplest of moments between a mother and a daughter. A moment I am sure most parents never give a second thought to. For me, a moment in my forever longing and wondering imagination. Yet, I got some semblance of it this weekend when one of my clients texted me for help. She was off visiting where she is going to continue her college education far, far away from the city limits of St. Louis and in the mountains where she spent the last couple of days hiking much to the chagrin of her heels.
A picture of the biggest blister I have ever seen came through on my phone with a message of, “Please tell me what to do. Do I clean it? Cover it? Help. Please.”
Not the normal text I get as a mental health therapist, yet one I wasn’t surprised by.
I talked her through cleaning her blisters and taking care of them but at first forgot to tell her about blowing on the foaming peroxide! My self-talk was not much unlike what I hear in my office from mothers who hardly ever give themselves credit for the brilliant jobs they are doing, Crap! God, I suck.
I circled back and let her know to blow on the bubbles to help with the sting. I then told her that I was sorry she was never taught this growing up and that she deserved better. Her mother died when she was young and she grew up without a mother like figure to teach her these kinds of things.
And, I am growing old without my own children to teach them to.
God’s plan in something as simple as a boo boo.
Much of what we do as therapists is re-parenting our clients. I teach, I coach, I push, I hold space for healing, I keep accountable and I deeply care. Actually, this is also what I do if you are my friend or family. It is kind of impossible to shut off.
The bossy, pushy, loving mother I am. The mother they made me. The mother armed with the breath of healing and a Strawberry Shortcake bandage.