When my youngest was almost a year old, he fell into a table and split his bottom lip open and had to get three stitches.
I wrote a story about it.
My daughter has just mastered the two wheeler with no training wheels. Trying for a fancy curve the other night, she wiped out and split her bottom lip open.
I wrote a story about that too.
Sounds callous, I know. I was there to hug and reassure, to drive to the hospital, dab at the open sore. The split lip wasn’t really the story, anyway. It’s everything that happened because of the split lip. My boy was so little he couldn’t understand why it hurt, and I had to hold him still for the doctor and (unsuccessfully) try not to bawl my eyes out. During all this, my daughter pulled on my pant leg and asked if she could have her snack now.
I told her to sit down.
Then when she became the victim of gravity and the pavement, my youngest patted her on the back gently. Her screams could be heard down the block. But when we started to carry her inside, she started to scream louder.
“I want to keep riding my bike,” she wailed.
I’m not saying inspiration only comes in the form of blood and tears. But seize those moments when it does happen and don’t feel guilty for seeing the story in the suffering. It’s not really about the suffering anyway. It’s about those two beautiful matching scars my kids now sport. It’s about them, and me, and fate or luck, happenstance, whatever. It’s life.