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Roots and Wings

When he was a baby and he got his shots, he never knew what was coming.  As soon as the nurse was finished with the dirty deed, he would squawk for only a second before I was there to hold him, nurse him, comfort him.  And that’s all he needed.  Once again, all was right with the world.

When he was a little boy, he would forget from one visit to the next about the shots.  We wouldn’t tell him what was coming.  The doctor and I would discuss the shots in code language so he didn’t have time to dread the event.  When the nurse came into the room, he barely had time to get hysterical before it was all over.  A hug from mom and the promise of a milkshake at McDonalds would put the whole event out of his memory.  Until the next time.

But now he’s a big boy.  He knows what’s coming when we head to the doctor’s office, and he knows it’s not pleasant.  He tried to be brave.  But when the doctor informed him that there were two shots coming, not just one, that was the final straw. 

He tried to act nonchalant, but I saw him secretly wiping away tears.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t had so much time to
anticipate it.  Ten minutes
seemed like thirty as we sat and waited, a dark cloud hovering over the room.

"What does it feel like, Mom?  How much does it hurt?"  He must have asked those questions at least five times as he blinked back tears.

The mommy in me wanted to go to him and comfort him, to put my arms around him and tell him it would be alright.  But I knew that my sympathy would cause the floodgates to open.  I knew my big boy didn’t want to cry.  So I pretended not to notice.  I reassured him that it would only pinch for a second.  Then  I looked away, made small talk with his sisters, anything to help him save face in front of the nurses.

When they finally entered the room to administer the shots, he put his game face on.  He responded politely to their questions when he really wanted to scream and kick and run.  He held his breath and gritted his teeth as they counted down. 

Then it was over.

He smiled in relief.  He inspected his arms.  And in his cocky little boyish way, he tried to convince me it wasn’t so bad.  "It just felt like a little pinch." 

After he got dressed and we were leaving the office, he said, "The waiting was the worst part, Mom." 

One of life’s most repetitive lessons, is it not?

When I was a teenager, one of my friend’s moms told me that her job as a parent was to give her children roots and wings.  I didn’t really understand at the time what she was trying to tell me.  But I think I’m learning. 

I’ve spent the last eight years giving my little boy roots.  Now it’s time to start working on those wings.

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17 thoughts on “Roots and Wings

  1. That’s the part about raising a boy I think I wouldn’t get as well as you do. Al’s always having to “help” me with our stepson, because even now that he’s 10, my instincts are to baby him when he’s hurt or scared. You did a great job and I’m sure he appreciated it so much. 🙂 Brave boy, he is!

  2. That gave me chill bumps! I’ve been in that same situation and it’s so hard as a Mom. Being the Mom is tough some days. But, you done good! Keep up the good work!

  3. That reminds me of the time my daughter was very little, but remembered the previous immunization. She very seriously informed us that she had to get “an owie on my neet”. 🙂

  4. Brave guy. My daughter started to scream HYSTERICALLY as soon as they told her she had to have a couple shots during her 6 year old visit last year. I spent 10 minutes calming her down before she ever even saw the shot and I do believe she was embarassed in the end. Recently, she had a cavity filled, and didn’t make a peep. Hopefully, we are getting those roots deep and starting to grow some wings, too. Great post!

  5. My heart aches just thinking about the day I have to start giving my boy wings. And it doesn’t seem too far off…

  6. What a beautiful post. I am a father of three and I could not agree with you more.

    Waiting is the worst part.

    And it’s still the same when we’re parents.

    God bless your son and I hope you and he have as much fun together in life as me and my trio ….

  7. I have not “roots & wings” before – what a beautiful way to put it.

    And “amen” to waiting is the hardest part being a repetitive lesson.

  8. Absolutely beautiful.
    What a great post and what a wonderful little man.
    True testament to wonderful parenting. Good job mom.

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