This picture has nothing to do with the post you are about to read, except that it is of Bria and the post is about her mostly. I just love it. And her. Isn't she beautiful? And so grown-up?
When I was 7 or 8 I stepped on a rusty nail while playing Red Rover at a birthday party in someone's backyard. Not only did it hurt like a really bad word, it gave me a blood infection. I have very vivid memories of my mom trying not to freak out about it and scare me, my next-door neighbor and my dad giving me a blessing in the middle of the night while my foot was soaking in Epsom salts, and the red streak that came almost to my knee before the antibiotics kicked in and it started to recede.
So when Bria came into our bedroom at about 6:00 on Sunday morning crying about how much her foot was hurting her, I now had to be the mother that was trying not to freak out. Bria had gone to the beach with a friend on Saturday and apparently stepped on something. She remembers doing it, but never told me about it or complained that it hurt when she got home. But when she showed me her foot on Sunday morning, there was already a red streak up past her ankle.
For the first time ever, I was thankful for my own experience with blood infection as a child, because I don't know that I would have recognized it otherwise. I told Bria we would be heading for the ER, and of course she flipped out, because she is terrified of doctors (among other things). I stayed amazingly calm and explained to her how serious it was and that only a doctor had the right tools and medications to help her right now. She agreed to go, but now she was flipping out about dying. And about the shot I told her she would definitely be getting.
Bria did amazingly well at the hospital. She barely cried when the doctor took his scalpel and dug around in the wound to make sure that whatever she stepped on was not still in her foot. She hung on to my hand for dear life, but she was so brave. She dealt with the x-rays (again, just to make sure something was not still inside her foot) wonderfully, even though I know how difficult it was for her to remain calm since I couldn't hold her hand in the radiation room. She even handled the shot well. The nurse was really great and helped her relax and it wasn't so bad. And most impressive of all, she threw up about ten times after we got home (I'm thinking the pain medication they gave her upset her stomach) and she didn't make a big deal out of it at all.
You may wonder why I am so impressed with my nearly 11-year-old daughter doing well at the ER. I mentioned she was terrified of doctors, but I wasn't just saying it flippantly. She is really and truly, completely terrified of doctors. The only other time she has gotten an x-ray was when she was 3 years old and had likely broken her foot. Getting the x-ray was a 2 hour ordeal bordering on the ridiculous. I have seen 4 nurses, plus Joel and me, holding her down in order for her to receive a shot. And throwing up? It is possible that she is more terrified of that than she is of doctors. She has never handled it well, by any stretch of the imagination, and that's all that needs to be said about that. So yes, I was understandably very proud of her maturity.
But this post really isn't about any of that. I've just been thinking a lot about how so many times our negative experiences in life actually end up helping us. This story only illustrates that in a small way: I knew to take my daughter to the doctor for a potentially dangerous issue because of my own experience with it as a child. Even Bria's prior experiences with doctors probably helped her to deal with this visit more calmly. It's so easy to be angry about the bad things that happen to us, or wonder why, or even just forget about it, but I have been able to look back and see in hindsight so many times how a difficult experience has actually made me stronger, or has taught me something important, or has helped me be more empathetic to others.
Our trials truly can be blessings....even if it takes 30 years to realize it.
"...all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."