After cutting my youngest son’s hair this week I told him to take off his shirt before hitting the shower. Hair spread clear across the floor from my kitchen to his bathroom is the last thing I need. But when he pulled off his shirt, I noticed a large lump on his back. One I’d never seen before, and I’m a wrestling mom, so I see his naked back pretty often while he takes his singlet straps off and on between matches.
It takes a couple of days to get into the doctor, but I keep pretending like it’s no big deal. His little imagination has already decided the worst, so it’s up to me to keep a level head.
In the office, the doctor lists off three possibilities for the lump. Two are not life threatening. The last option is not good.
“The only way to know for sure is to open him up and look,” the doctor says prodding the spot some more.
“What?” My son pushes up from where he lays on the exam table. “You mean like right now?”
The doctor nods. “Unless you want a dermatologist to do it, but you’re going to have a scar either way.”
My son goes into panic mode, trying to escape out of the room. I push him back down on the table.
“Quit being a wuss. We need to know what this is.”
My son survived the procedure, and the doctor confirmed that is wasn’t cancer but a fatty tumor. He removed it, stitched him back up, and we were on our way home.
In the car, my son says, “Why do you have to be so mean?”
“I’m not mean. Do you really think I’d let the doctor cut you open if I didn’t trust him? I would never let anybody hurt you if I didn’t think it wasn’t for your benefit.”
He crossed his arms and looked away. “Maybe you should have said it that way instead of calling me a wuss.”
I rolled my eyes. If only my life worked like my stories. I could hit delete a thousand times until everything I said held the perfect weight of words choice and clarity. But sadly, I have to function within whatever moments life throws at me. And in that moment, ‘quit being a wuss,’ felt right.