Wednesday, July 11, 2007

wanted: a little bit of healing

At 2 a.m., on night five of six nights of fever, the over-heated one woke for the nth time.

knock, knock
who's there?
silly chickens.
silly chickens, who?
Aoow, aaow, aaoowwooo! (coyote howl, as per the Toddles and Mary Jr.)

Almost worth waking up for, I thought.

Yesterday, I took the Eldest to a psychologist specializing in kids with chronic illness. In the five minutes I had, I tried to explain what we were seeing and why I was worried. She tried to soothe me about things I wasn't worried, but instead of leaving, feeling frustrated, I ended up with a hopeful note: nice lady. We'll see what she thinks, two, three sessions down the road.

I have the habit of dressing carefully for doctor's visits. I heard a talk once by a psychologist that explained that children who are attractive in some fashion (appearance, behavior, etc) get better medical care than children who do not appeal to their caregivers in some fashion. It's a thought I've filed under 'nasty but probably true,' and I've always dressed the boys and myself carefully for these visits, for much the same reason.

Admittedly, years of dressing with the concept of tzniut, or modesty in mind have made me into someone who overthinks when she yanks out clothes for the morning. Different communities approach the question of modesty differently, some are okay with women wearing pants, others advocate for women in skirts. Necklines, hemlines, length of sleeves - all of these come into play in the delicate dance of what is considered appropriate. I'm usually quite happy to go beyond my personal standards to suit the community's when I visit friends more religious than I - I figure that I'd rather have people talk to me than fret about what I'm wearing. For a religion that builds sexual satisfaction into our marriage contract, we certainly get anxious about it on our streets.

The concept of appropriate dressing taken to such detail, such attempts at precision strikes me as faintly silly even as I do it. And do we get better medical care this way? Who knows - at least it makes me feel settled, which is probably worth something.

Let's see: we want to look nice, but not as if we're trying too hard. We'd like to look presentable, but not stiff and starchy, hmmm. The Eldest ended up in a soft, pale blue t-shirt and some ever so slightly raggedy (but fashionably so) khaki shorts. A leetle preppy, but not too bad. On the way out the door, though, he snagged a bright yellow pair of warm-up shorts.

They're mine, he informed me.

We got to the car, and he plopped them on his head. It's my pants-hat! he shrieked, and doubled over in giggles. His tidy-but-boyish image was ruined, replaced by a tidy but quirky look that is all Eldest's. Beneath the awful yellow of the shorts, the Eldest's grin caught fire with delight.

It was, I mused, the perfect ensemble.

Well, she's packed and we've said good-bye.

As I noted here, our dear Mary Jr had a personal reversal sprung on her. She's gone home to, as the Eldest put it, "heal." The Toddles is wandering around the house, calling her name, asking if she's in the other room. The Eldest, suddenly realizing that he'd said good-bye to her for the last time (we meant it when we'd told you so, kid), panicked and asked to call her.

This morning, we declared her an honorary auntie, after she completed our Auntification Course, a rigorous affair including a written exam, visual identification, a visual interpretation section, and a practical exam. She passed with flying colours, and after deliberation by the committee, we awarded her a certificate of Honorary Auntieship. It was sweet, silly, and entirely appropriate. Families, after all, are as often made as they are born.

The Toddles, however, is worried about his newly named auntie. 'Mary boke?' 'He boke Mary?' Listening to our worried conversations about the situation, the Toddles is trying to fit the language he knows to the concepts we've been expressing. The Eldest, somehow a bit wiser in the ways of injuries and healing, is less worried. He knows that people can be bent, or broken, and yet heal. In the throes of healing himself from a bleed into his left hand, the Eldest holds faith.

Healing will come. But oh, will we miss her.


Anonymous said...

Love the visual of the pants hat... and as always, the knock-knock jokes....

Hugs on missing Mary!

mama o' the matrices said...

It was pretty awesome. My take? Any kid who will wear pants on his head is going to be just fine. No, really.

And any kid who takes those pants off before going into the doc's office shows a fine sense of limits on a joke. Pants on the head in front of me is funny, in front of a stranger is something a bit less funny and a bit more defiant, take me as I am. Which is fine too, but you really ought to save it for when it's necessary.