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The Scratches of Life

He lives life to the fullest.

He is our risk taker.

He wants to live every day to the max.

There is no down time for him.

He has been this way his entire life. From the first months of his life, my husband and I noticed there was something different about him. That’s the thing about having a twin sister: everything you do is compared to her. Whereas she liked to be held and cuddled for long periods of the day, he would rather be free to stretch and roll on the floor. He did not like the confines of someone’s arms when he could be roaming the floor learning to crawl.

A diagnosis of torticollis turned out to be an ironic blessing in his development because he wore a helmet on his head for 23 hours a day to help reshape his head. This provided amazing protection when he learned to walk. As he took his first steps and began to wobble around the house, I was able to breathe easy knowing his head was safeguarded from the furniture he seemed to have no fear charging into.

He has a scar on his upper lip from falling into the corner of a wall. Upon seeing the cut for the first time I, perhaps slightly overreacting, was convinced his front tooth had come through his lip, which was the reason for all the blood. Slightly freaking out, I ran outside to get my husband who was talking to the neighbors. When he came in to examine our son, and looked on the inside of his lip, he noticed there was no interior cut. The tooth had not come through. It was just a cut from the wall. This was my first clue as his mother that I would need to learn to keep a level head when assessing his injuries. This ability to stay calm and not freak out when he comes to me bleeding has served me well.

I imagine him as an adult. Of my three kids, he will most likely be the first one to sky dive, rock climb or, well, get a speeding ticket. He will attempt to do things his brother and sister will never consider. He will experience life. He will not sit passively and watch it pass him by. He will do more in one month than most of us will do in an entire year.

That will be him as an adult.

But today he is still just 4 years old. He is still just a little boy learning the ins and outs of riding a bike. And so, when he went to make a sharp turn on Friday after his older brother cut him off, he took a fall. He landed face first on the hard pavement. I wasn’t home but my husband reports that there was no shortage of tears or blood. By the time I was able to come home he was no longer crying, just iced up and sitting on my husband’s lap.

The little monkey who is usually so active and vibrant was temporarily content with cuddles and hugs while his face throbbed in pain.

I worried the fall would scare him off bikes for a while. Other moms have shared their child’s fall stories and how their kids have not touched their bikes since. My heart sank a little. My son loves his bike.  It brings him such joy. Would he ever ride as carefree as he did before his fall?

Two days later my fears subsided. He was back on his bike as if nothing had ever happened. Less than a week after the fall there was hardly any mention of the incident.

This fall is not the first nor will it be his last.  Throughout his life, he will encounter his share of scrapes and bruises. His resilience on his bike demonstrates that he seems to understand this far better than I do. I want to protect him from every future scraped knee and elbow. I want to wrap him in bubble wrap so that he’ll never be the little boy throbbing in pain with an ice pack to his lip again.

But you cannot live life to the fullest without getting a few scratches along the way.