It’s tough to weigh the benefits of BandAids against the anxiety of taking them off. I remember deciding in my heart, at about age seven, that I would prefer an open, vulnerable wound over ripping hair off my body, no matter how quickly. I still kind of carry that mentality.
Tuck fell on the sidewalk yesterday. It’s the downside of spring time and shorts and new flipflops: the knees take a hit. Poor kid.
He’s in that window where he’s not sure if it’s still okay to cry. So, together we’re in that window where I find myself giving him permission to cry. It’s okay, buddy. Everything you’re holding in right now doesn’t have to stay in there. Let a little steam out of your kettle, kiddo.
We bandaged him with BandAids, and immediately began the onset of anxiety – the bandages would eventually need to come off, and that fear was overwhelming him, ever waiting around the corner. (Sort of like Slapsgiving on How I Met Your Mother.)
Naturally, he couldn’t sleep through the night with the constant, albeit irrational, fear that someone would sneak onto his top bunk and rip those babies off.
At midnight, I heard him coming down the hall yet again. I prepared my response in my half-awake place. Get back in bed. You’re fine. Go.
Or, a more compassionate side of me whispered in response, you could give him a bath. He needs one anyway, kind of badly if we’re all honest with each other. And then he can take the BandAids off in the bath tub, which we all know is the best place for minimal trauma.
But it’s midnight.
But he’s worried.
But they’re just BandAids.
But he’s afraid.
And I could fix this.
And he could feel loved.
That’s how I ended up running a warm bath at nearly 1 AM.
It’s been years since I’ve bathed one of my sons. And certainly it’s been even longer since I bathed him with a patient, gentle touch, not a rushed process that is motivated by bedtime and solitude.
It’s naturally something they outgrow, but I wonder if it’s really something we actually outgrow at all. Maybe we just become aware of the fact that we don’t have any clothes on, that there’s someone in the room, that this could be embarrassing or shameful, and it’s just best to close the door and be alone for the routine task.
Perhaps it’s why massages and spa treatments are such luxuries: because we never outgrow the love language of touch.
I gave him a bath. I washed his hair. I tilted his chin so the water didn’t run in his eyes. And when he was ready, the BandAids peeled away like silk.