When Your Kid Parents You

Yesterday I took B to the Sacramento Zoo.  I took the stroller out of the car in the parking lot.  I put a foot on it to snap it open and a wheel snaked away from me.  The stroller lunged in my direction and me, being on one foot, fell on my ass, hard.  I drew my left hand back to catch myself and fell on my elbow.  I felt like I was still rattling for a few minutes afterward.

Blossom swung into action: “Aw, Mama you fell.  It’s okay, you’ll feel better soon.  Here’s a hug. Did you get an Owie? You’ll be okay, Honey.”

I didn’t feel pain immediately. I was distracted by meeting our friends.  It struck me as funny that Blossom just repeated the things I say to her when she gets hurt.

We went to the Zoo, which is always a mixed bag for me.  The animals are now dependent on these simulacrums of their natural habitat because we turned that habitat into timeshares.  Just like everyone else, I love to see the animals.  But they seem listless.  Unless they are lemurs or otters.  Of course, the kids when out of their continental minds.

Anyway, we had a great time but I could feel my hip and my arm tightening in response to the injury.  It was the weirdest pain I’ve felt in a long time.  It was as though I had done a thousand curls and I had intense muscle fatigue.  And kinda like a bad tooth, I couldn’t leave it alone.  So I would stretch and groan.  Blossom said: “I think you’re gonna live.”

When she was really little and she first started talking, she would call everyone “My Darwin.”  Especially when we did something she liked.

I think about how we hope and expect that our children will take care of us when we are old.  But they actually take care of us now.

They are feedback loops of our behavior, our worldview, our expression.  We get back directly what we put into our children.

This morning, B climbed into bed and I was still having trouble moving the arm.

She hopped back out of bed and I heard her pad down the hall to her room.  She came back in with a jar of salve that I sometimes put on her scratches or bug bites.

“I’ll put some medicine, okay?” she asked.  She opened the jar, dipped her tiny finger in and rubbed it on my elbow.

“That will make it feel better,” she informed me.

“Thanks, B. I do feel better.”

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