816 North Opinion

The emotional and physical scars, courtesy of my children

“I love you!” I said as the door was slammed in my face. While I understood the motivation behind it, I can’t lie: the silent treatment/slammed door combo hurt. Not physically, all my limbs and appendages were outside the door frame, but emotionally it stung. Emotionally it was going to leave a little scar on my heart.

Kids leave marks everywhere, emotionally and physically. My own house sports nicks and dings from the time a skateboard careened off the baseboard, a ball hit the ceiling, and a kid hit a wall. There are tiny holes from posters and pictures that just had to be hung and then had to be removed; there is a rip from the poorly thought-out practice cast that snagged a barbed hook in a living room curtain.

Seeing those (and more, so many more) scars on the house from the kids makes me smile — they are the stories of family lore that will be repeated for years. Remember the time…

Honestly, I don’t really want to fix some of them because the imperfections remind me of my perfectly imperfect family.

Although others I hope heal fast. “Dad is a much better passenger than you are,” my daughter said. “You spend the whole time grabbing the door handle and tensed up.”

I owned it. “PTDD,” I told her. “Post Teen Driving Syndrome. The terror of your first few times on the road comes back. Intellectually I know you are a better driver, but the emotional scars are still there.”

I have some physical scars that are still there, too. A slice across my abdomen from when my youngest was born; a crescent shaped mark on my finger from the Halloween when I said, “Let me handle the knife, you’re too little… wow! This is a thick pumpkin.”

My back has never been the same since I taught Luke to ride a bike. He was 4 and we had a deadline: He wanted to be on a two-wheeler in a month for Preschool Bike Day. It had taken one afternoon for his sister to learn, how hard could it be?

Three weeks, several ice packs, and a lingering perfume of Bengay later, I knew how hard. Balance, pedal, run behind him, let go, fall, repeat. I admired his determination and drive; how could I be the one who gave up? He still has that determination and drive and my back still hurts … but my heart is warmed by the thrill of his success. Totally worth the pain.

When Bekah was a curious toddler, I wanted to take the kitchen trash outside before she was following me around for the day, but I had forgotten about the glass from a frame that had been broken the day before. A big tug to free the plastic bag from the trash can and I sliced my leg open. Seven stitches.

I had a mark for years. When I looked at my shin, I remembered my stupidity but I also remembered the cute little redhead who happily went to the ER with me and played with a nurse while I got stitched-up.

The scar is faded, but the memory remains. Maybe the same thing will happen with the slammed door mark. The slammer did apologize, hugged me and told me that he was having a really bad day and took it out on me.

Maybe love is the stitches or spackle or paint that fixes those heart injuries.

Or maybe a hurtful comment realized and apologized for may leave a forever scar, but the heart growth more than makes up for it. 

Susan Vollenweider lives in a dinged-up but loved house in Smithville. For more of her writing go to thehistorychicks.com

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