The first time I saw a burn on my daughter’s arm, she was only two months old. Her skin had been exposed to boiling water from the coffee pot while her dad and I were out of the room for 2 minutes. The scar that remained there for months after we bandaged it up has always stuck with me as a reminder that accidents happen and every second count in an emergency situation.
Thankfully, our daughter is now 6 years old and has grown into a strong girl who loves to play piano, go swimming, ride bikes, be outside- all things she could have never done before children burn foundation if not for our care. She doesn’t even know what happened to her those six years ago but it shaped who she is today because of how we handled it.
Now we have our son who is 17 months old and equally as curious about everything as his sister was at the same age. He loves to run around, climb on things, and get into anything he isn’t supposed to. This can definitely lead to accidents like falling off of a table or running into sharp edges while exploring. Or he could zip himself into an old sleeping bag and be stuck for hours until we find him. He’s always learning new skills which is great, but those accidents are part of the growing process too.
On a particularly difficult day from this past summer, his sister was frustrated that she couldn’t go play in the driveway with her friends because of one of her old scars. She complained and begged to go out there, but I said no. The next day when we were driving home from the store and she was complaining about how bad she wanted to play in the driveway again, I told her that because it is dangerous for her to go outside alone now with all of her scars that I wouldn’t let her go outside without an adult. She stopped talking to me for the rest of the car ride home and sulked to herself about how unfair it was.
I knew she wasn’t angry at me, but she needed a way to cope with this new injury so I translated her feelings into something more positive- “You should be proud of how you have grown through this pain. It isn’t easy to get hurt, but it is even harder to deal with and keep going.” She stopped her pouting and responded, “But Mama, when I’m a superhero I can fix myself as the other superheroes do!”
I couldn’t think of anything to say at that moment. It has taken me all summer to process these feelings and the best I came up with was: “Well, you may not have superpowers now but one day you will. And it won’t be a scar that makes you stronger, it will be what grows from inside of you.”
She stopped talking about her scars for the rest of the day and hasn’t mentioned it since. However, I have been thinking about this a lot as she talks more about what she wants to be when she grows up. She wants to be a superhero- specifically Supergirl because “she is strong just like me!” But what part of her is super strong? The human body is a piece of art that reflects the mind but what is it about our minds today that makes us believe only our physical bodies can be super strong?
I think the answer to this question comes from the idea that scars are ugly. We want everyone to have perfect skin and wonder why they don’t for some reason. I’m not trying to put anyone down in any way, but I’ve always thought scars were quite amazing. They tell a story of some great struggle we have been through and come out the other side stronger than before.
Learning about this on such a small scale with my daughter makes me so proud to be her mother because she deals with adversities so well- it’s hard being a kid sometimes. Not only am I raising her to be super strong in mind and spirit, but I hope with my whole heart that she will never feel the need to hide her scars. They are part of who she is and they make her strong- more so than any other abilities she may have dreamed up this summer about what it means to be super.
If you haven’t already, check out my guest post on the Mommy Evolution blog about how I learned to embrace loving myself and my scars from disfigurement. I have so many more great posts coming your way thanks to this new relationship with a professional blogger! If mom-to-mom support is what you are looking for, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at email@example.com.
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