Let It Go...
This is not about Elsa. I promise.
“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”
I came across this quote today and immediately found a story, a memory, I needed to tell. As many of my pieces and words unravel I will take you down the yellow brick road of a moment; always bits of flying monkeys and poppies finding you face to face with a wizard at the end. Stick with me, and as my students sometimes say, “I gotchu.”
The day my father passed away all three of my kids had appointments to get the flu shot. That afternoon my husband got a ride to the Rockford airport to pick up my car where I had left it the week before and I sat at the kitchen table staring at a lone banana; tiny brown spots beginning to design the peel - splatter paint - polka dots - freckles. I memorized that banana in all its speckled, rotten glory.
When I decided to raise my head I saw the clock, stood up and yelled, “Kids! It is time to get your flu shots. Let’s go.” I remember them frozen in a sibling triangle staring at each other silently daring the other to ask me if I was joking; just an hour prior all of us were locked in a huddle missing Zayde, missing my father. I must have gotten in the car, turned it on and put it into drive because we were heading to 20 South Park. I began to cry hard loud sobs at the red lights, pools of tears at the stop signs, fountains of salty streams at the green lights. I cried at the registration desk; I cried in the waiting room and I cried in the arm of our nurse who delicately held 3 syringes in one hand and me in the other. I blubbered my way home and into a nap that lasted, well, a long time.
For a few years after this moment, every time the flu shot appointments hit the calendar, my kids would become hesitant to pile in my sweet ride of a blue minivan; not because of the potential pain from a needle poke, but for the fear that mom was going to lose it. I would watch them look at one another with quiet darting eyeballs and console, “I won’t cry today you guys,” and then we would all crack up.
The laughing is the Wizard my friends; now I take you behind the curtain. I think it is okay to be real with our children; to be human and show them truth; to thank them; to apologize to them; to cry in front of them.
Showing our kids we can overcome sadness and pain may give them the courage to not hold their own emotions captive; or it will make them fear flu shots for the rest of their life but I say, take the risk!