At one point yesterday while we were skiing with the kids, Harley Love took a huge spill; it was one of those epic forward rolls, ski’s tumbling straight over her head, and Ben crumbling right over the top of her…which, for the record, I have never seen him do…fall, I mean.
She doesn’t fall a lot, but when she does she never cries. This, however, was one of those falls that had her hysterically crying the second she went down. When Ben got up and yanked her up by her leash, we got a glimpse of the face and mouth full of snow that she ate when she went down.
Now, I’m one of those tough love sort of parents. It’s not a strict policy I’ve established or anything, but I’ve always subconsciously been very careful to raise tough as nails children that I refuse to baby through injuries.
Sometimes this backfires. Like when Jonah fell off the basketball hoop on our driveway (I know that already sounds bad) and I kept telling him he was fine. Until a week later, Dr. Rockett told him he broke his thumb and asked him why he didn’t say anything earlier. And, I tried to play it off like he never told me. And, Jonah told him that he, in fact, had been telling me. And, I pretended like he was lying.
Oh, that same thing happened to Maya, too. Twice. Same doctor.
I know it’s hard to believe, but I do have a heart.
It’s not like I don’t care; it’s more like I care about too much. I try not to care so much about the immediacy of the actual injury, and forecast how the way I react to that specific incident will affect their future response to adversity.
No, like those are the actual thoughts going through my head when I see Harley Love’s snot-ridden face right after she’s in a yard sale level fall. I’m thinking ‘future relationship to adversity’ instead of ‘does this child need medical attention’?
Here’s the thing: what I want to do is grab her, smother her with love and sympathy, and carry her down to the lodge to distract her with hot chocolate and waffles. But, what’s that really going to teach her? That when you get knocked down, you spoil yourself by running away and eating comfort food. Is that really the sort of children I want to raise for the rest of the world to deal with? Is that how I want her to fix her “problems”?
Instead, we cleaned her face off, got her back on her feet, and confirmed for her that that was probably really really painful and scary. Then, she turned her skis downhill just enough to get them going…and, she started to find her groove again.
She got knocked down, felt pain, rallied, and overcame it.
All without any snuggling or hot chocolate.
And, I truly believe that if we can resist our own temptations as parents to care too much, these kids of ours will be better for it.