I don’t often look at the scar on my abdomen. I have a line across my lower belly, a narrow-lipped grimace, the remnant of 8″ incisions cut into me twice over for the births of my two children. I don’t regret the c-sections that gave me that scar, nor do I particularly care whether or not it ever fades completely from view. I doubt it could and, even if it did, a phantom of it would still remain in my mind because of how it connects me to two of the most important people in my life.
My dd will likely now have a scar, although at the tender age of eight and three-quarters years old, hers is from a decidedly less miraculous reason than the birth of a child. In her case, it was just a freak accident.
At camp yesterday, her group was playing a game where they tossed a partially-filled sport drink bottle from kid to kid. If a kid failed to catch it, they were “out”. Apparently, one of the kiddos didn’t catch the bottle and was flagged as “out”. This kiddo’s reaction was to hurl the bottle angrily at top speed–and I guess dd’s forehead was right in the path of the projectile. There’s no indication that it was anything other than an accident; it was an eight year old kid acting out because she was ticked off over getting booted from a game. Even so, it made for quite the day.
I closed up what I could from work as fast as I could (a testament to my AMAZING co-workers that I was able to delegate a few must-do’s to others), and then I raced at top speed to pick her up from camp. Bearing in mind that when camp called, they told me that they thought she needed stitches. Here’s me figuring that they’re possibly exaggerating. Maybe it’s just a big scratch or something.
Yeah, I was dead wrong.
The gash on dd’s forehead was a little less than an inch long but incredibly deep. It reminded me of the lash marks on the faces of characters from the battle between the Sentinels and residents of Zion in the last “Matrix” movie. NOT. GOOD. She was in decent enough spirits for a kid with an open wound on her head, though, so we went home to change her into clean clothes and headed off to get to the Urgent Care center as they opened. (Our doctor’s office can’t put in stitches, and the copay for the co-located Urgent Care is the same as a doctor’s office visit copay, as opposed to the ER copay–which is 4x as much and boasts at least the same waiting time, if not more.)
Everyone at Urgent Care was very sweet, and it was only when the triage nurse needed to irrigate the wound to clean it when dd howled, cried, and tensed her legs in obvious pain. Even so, her struggling was minimal and she squeezed my hand almost as hard as I squeezed hers, both of us so completely frustrated by my inability to wave a magic wand and make it all not be so.
The nurse practitioner was fantastic, as was the pediatric nurse; they numbed her up with a topical mixture heavy on lidocaine that made the injectable lidocaine (which was, unfortunately, still necessary) that much easier for her to handle. Five stitches and a total of two-and-a-half hours later, we emerged into the sunlight, ready to continue our afternoon.
We’ve been given strict limitations on her physical activity for the next 7-10 days (or as long as it takes for the wound to close up), and there are further instructions to keep her from scarring too much. We need to apply sunscreen daily to the site for at least 1-2 years. We need to apply Vitamin E oil daily to the site for at least 1 year. And all of this should (hopefully) preserve dd’s previously pristine face.
And yet I know this is possibly fruitless. She may end up with some kind of scar, due to some other eight year old girl’s dumbass temper tantrum.
I don’t mind that I have a scar. I earned mine at 33 (and again at 36), and I did so knowingly, going in with the understanding that my surgeries would result in a scar. I just wish I could protect dd (and ds) from the scars that are yet to come. Let this be the worst one she ever has to bear. Let this be the toughest visible reminder she has of the fact that other people, sometimes, are just assholes. Because yes, even eight year olds–especially ones that apparently only grudgingly gave half-hearted apologies for opening up another’s forehead–can be assholes. Let’s just call a spade a spade.
I wish it could be not so for her. And that is one of the toughest things that any parent has to bear, how little we can do sometimes to remove burdens from our kids. So I hope that if she does have a scar, her primary memory of it is not the angry, tantrum-throwing brat who hurled that bottle at her. I hope that her main memory is of how badass she was as she took five stitches to the head without so much as a whimper. She’s so strong. She’s so amazing. And she’s more than any scar she’ll ever carry.