Character band-aids. They seemed to me like a colorful slice of a pacifier that we ever so gently stick on our children’s wounds…sometimes they even actually even cover blood. I have in the past had what you could call a ‘love/hate relationship’ with character band-aids.
That is until a Mother’s Day tea in one of my children’s kindergarten classrooms.
I sat that morning cramped in my child’s classroom chair, sipping weak tea and eating store bought butter cookies along with a bunch of other women I recognize by face but not by name. My child’s beaming face made the awkwardness worthwhile…that and the promise that we were going to hear our children read their writer’s workshop masterpieces.
The prompt they were given for this particular assignment was, “I love my mother because…”
And many of the answers that were given were rather predictable.
I smiled along with the other moms as they heard their child sing their praises with:
“I love my mommy because she takes me to the pool.”
“I love my mommy because she lets me do karate.”
“I love my mommy because she cooks good food.”
Sweet for sure, each declaration brought smiles from all of us. As I listened I wondered what accolade I would be assigned by my soon to be kindergarten grad.
Finally it was my turn to hear why that particular child of mine loved me.
“I love my mommy because when I fall she comes to the rescue and she gives me a band-aid. And I love her because she helps us when we get hurt and I love her just because.”
It hit home to me right then that an often overlooked “special need” is that of the wounded heart.
Hearts that suffer an early betrayal. Hearts that become trained not to expect their needs to be met when they were one of many in their institutions. Hearts that find trust difficult.
And this child of mine with a wounded heart…over time…this child believed in me.
At first I held my breath, trying not to react in front of those other moms I didn’t really know. Then the tears began to fall as I sat reaching for everything within me to prevent the ugly cry from happening right there in my child’s classroom. It was in that moment that I realized those character band-aids were actually so, SO much more than just a pacifier.
Those band-aids were a symbol to my child–my beautiful, precious, tender, tough, wounded-heart child–that I do care. They serve as a tangible picture of my love for my child. A reassurance that someone, particularly me, will be there to care for my child’s needs. That child may have had their heart broken more than once before they came to know me as Mama.
But I’m here now. So are the character band-aids. And now? Well, I’ll apply them with a smile instead of a sigh.