The 4 Words That Bring Healing

IMG_8046One Saturday hanging in the kitchen with my man and our youngest comes in biting her fingers with big tears sledding down her cheeks. Leaning just inside the door, she stares at us, simply waiting for us to notice her pain.
What is wrong?’ Setting my knife on the cutting board, I search for the source of trauma.
She wails and the words run together, ‘Iwasridingmybike and…and…myflipflopgotcaught…and…I FELL AND SCRAPED MY KNEEEEEEEEE!’
Making her way to me, her face crumpled like a Kleenex and she half-hopped on one leg and dragged the lame one behind her.
‘Let Mama see.’
Moving her hand, I see that if I squint my eyes a little, I see, maybe, no, yes…there it is: a hairline scratch so tiny it might even have been only in my imagination.
‘Oh, Baby. Mama is so sorry. Come here.’
I hug her tight, tuck hair behind her ears and wipe her face dry from the large tears of a crocodile.
We sit this way for awhile and she melts right along the side of me.                                                                  ‘That must have hurt.’
This girl had had a tough day.
And it was only 11.
She had been left out of a woods hike with the biggies, gotten in some hot water over a pile of neatly folded clothes she had carelessly undone, and to top it off: we were out of Goldfish.
And now this.
There was a pile of hurt hiding behind the thin red scratch that broke the camel’s back.
She only wanted us to see it.
To see it was to be inside her pain with her…and say, ‘Yes. That must have hurt.’ And maybe even more?
‘I’m sorry that happened.’
We stay like that until forever and I feel physical weight leaving her like a sigh at the shifting of her burden from her tiny frame to her mama’s arms. I kiss her cheek so hard and she quite literally skips out of the room.
Turning full attention back to my chopping task, my husband says, ‘Are you kidding me? What was all that drama about? She wasn’t even hurt.’
‘I know. Sometimes she just needs for us to know she is hurting. She needs to feel seen and known…and then she’s okay and she can begin to feel better about it. Or we can ignore it or tell her it doesn’t really hurt or to be a big girl and she really will cry or pout and beg for bandaids and we will get into it for no reason and the rest of the afternoon will be wrecked over the real thing behind the thing.’
I pop a carrot into my mouth and crunch in the quiet pause.
‘You’re right,’ he says wonderingly.
I can tell he is thinking, once again, how curiously complicated girls are.
And we begin a conversation about our own kind of bike wrecks and soul wounds and band aids.
Slicing the last pickle for the sandwiches, I hear those words, see it in his eyes:
That must have hurt.
Shedding just a little weight of the world…I skip off to tell the kids lunch is ready.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. stephanie | 17th Nov 15

    Omg!!! I have tried to explain this to someone so many times! Maybe if I let them read it coming from someone else’s mouth….

  2. Kela Nellums | 17th Nov 15

    ..and I wish that I could have so simply and deeply explained this to my husband when our older girls were still at home!!!!!!
    BUT we do have a 13 year old daughter still home that we can do better with! 😉
    I also need this to be known by him when it comes to ME!! I just didn’t know….until now….how to nicely, and matter-of-factly to put it!

  3. Heather | 17th Nov 15

    Well said, such a great moment to capture and appreciate!

  4. Holly | 17th Nov 15

    And, this also applies to us big girls. So many times the smallest thing can bring me down but it wasn’t that at all. I just needed my people to understand “that must have hurt”. You always, always have such beautiful stories! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      TOTALLY applies to this Big Girl. As a matter of fact, I almost titled it ‘Why we don’t always have to put on our big girl undies’ or something like that…because I was thinking all about myself and my boo boo ;). I love you, sister.

  5. Kristi Crowson | 17th Nov 15

    You see me. Even when you are not here, you see me. And oh, how I needed you to see me today. I love you, my Melissa.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      I love you so, sweet sister. Could we please please please please please please please please please please schedule some time to talk one evening? Afternoon? 5 AM? I miss you too much.

  6. Susan Roberts | 17th Nov 15

    Oh, Sweet Girl — Too often we caretaker-momma-wives want to figure out how to FIX IT when it comes to our loved ones, when sometimes all they really want is acknowledgement & a listening ear. Thank you for reminding us.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      Why is it my ‘reminders’ always come after I’ve messed up? Ha! I don’t mind sharing all the dirty laundry anyway 😉 Coffee. You. Me. Christmas Wish. I love you.

  7. wynne | 17th Nov 15

    yes yes yes. to be seen, to be known in our hurt. oh man i love this, and you

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      I LOVE YOU! Thank you for always checking in on this space. Love walking with you in it.

  8. A plan for brave conversations - crystal gornto | HeartStories | 19th Jul 17

    […] friend Melissa Blair, who’s sharing with us at our GNO in two weeks, wrote this blog post on The 4 Words That Bring Healing, that has forever impacted my life and the lives of my husband and kids.  She taught me that when […]

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