I’d had a soother all of my life.
I used it when I was sleepy, grumpy, hungry, scared, nervous, crying, bored, or just feeling in need of a general soothe.
It was never far from my side. If I cried, my mom popped it in my mouth almost immediately. If I was tired, she gave me three of them and even clipped one to my pillowcase so I could find it in the night.
We had a good thing going. Sure, my teeth were starting to protrude ever so slightly… sure I was almost in need of a new round of replacements due to overuse, but also for sure, I had no intention of quitting the old thing… It wasn’t just a habit anymore, it had become a part of who I was.
Until yesterday… that’s when everything changed.
“Climb up here, come jump with me!” my big brother had said. I looked up at him standing on the bench belonging to our dining table. He was in the middle of an amazing balancing act and for obvious reasons of adventure and companionship I felt the urge to join him.
I did climb up. But balance, I did not.
My legs were not planted and my hands were far from grasping anything to hold onto. So instead of balancing we came tumbling to the floor in a pile of intertwined legs and arms.
I cried because instantly my face hurt… and then I looked down at my hands… red? Why red? Ewwwww… I had seen this before, blood I think they called it? My brothers ran away shrieking and hid in the closet. “Oh no, oh gross, oh help him, is he ok??” I heard them cry.
Those did not sound like reassuring statements in my book. Was I ok?
“Oh honey, here’s a rag, let me see your face… it’s ok, no no, stay off the carpet.”
Good old mom. She wiped my hands, my face, my tears. Then she dressed me up in my coat and shoes and whisked me away to the doctor across the street while saying something like, “Well, if you’re going to split your lip open, doing it 10 minutes before your big brother’s scheduled doctor’s appointment, is indeed the very best time to do it.”
“You’re welcome?” I wanted to tell her… but my lip, remember? It still hurt.
The next bit was kind of a blur. I sat on the bench waiting to the see the doctor with my brother for a long while. She kept dabbing at my lip with the ‘way too cold ‘cloth while I tried my best to watch Lightning Mcqueen on her iPhone.
Eventually we walked down a long hallway to a secret room. The doctor was waiting.
He was a nice enough man. His table bed thing with the crinkliest paper of all time was definitely not ‘nice enough,’ but he glued my lip, stuck a bandaid on it, and said things like, “Wow, you made a hole straight through your lip to the other side, that’s impressive!”
I like being impressive.
“I better now, I stop crying.” I told my mom when it was all done.
Back home she gave me a grape vitamin and I asked for my soother and blanket since this whole ordeal had left me feeling a bit exhausting.
I popped in my soother just like the good old days. I tried sucking it.
Ouch. Something was definitely not right.
“Why it not work?” I asked.
“Your lip is too swollen buddy, no more soother, it’s just going to hurt. You’re going to have to be a big boy now.” My mom said.
I hate to say it, but she was right.
I handed her my soother. I guess I was a big boy now.
At bedtime I missed it the most. I asked my mom for it a couple of times, but she kept reminding me about my newly found status of ‘Big Boy,’ and how much it hurt my mouth when I used it.
So I asked for what didn’t hurt… a blanket fort that I could fall asleep inside. It would serve as a wonderful distraction from my very disrupted nightly routine.
I lay there happily inside my fort, and then eventually I just fell asleep, WITHOUT MY SOOTHER.
The next morning as my eyes opened, the realization of my newest accomplishment came flooding back to me.
I ran to my mom’s bed; she was fast asleep. Classic mom.
“I’m a big boy mom!” I said as I poked her in the face with my finger. Her one eyeball slowly opened and she smiled at me as she scooped me up next to her for a snuggle.
My mom said we’d throw them out today, and that we’d say something like, “thank you for serving your purpose.” I don’t really get what she’s talking about, but she seems pretty excited, so I guess I can be a little bit excited too.
So long soother, it’s been a slice.