“Ladies and gentlemen,” the ring announcer droned, “in this corner, weighing in at a slightly pudgy-but-still-respectable-for-his-age 155 pounds, Big Daddy.”
“And in the other corner, weighing in at 34 pounds, the featherweight champion of the Family Boxing Federation, The Kid.”
You already know who wins this boxing match, right?
The Kid, of course. The undefeated, undisputed, undersized FBF titleholder.
It would be an upset of stunning proportions if Big Daddy were to win one of these fights, real or imagined, akin to the Washington Generals defeating the Harlem Globetrotters.
I thought about that as I nursed a bloody nose the other night that came when The Kid’s 3-year-old fist met Big Daddy’s schnoz, an admittedly large and sensitive target. The blow was accidental, coming during a nightly wrestling ritual with The Kid, but it stung nonetheless.
We always hear about all the bumps and bruises that little ones endure. What we often forget is that parents take a lot of hits, too. Our hair gets pulled and we pull out our own hair, leaving many of us with much less on top than we had before we had kids.
There are the emotional pains of being a parent. The cry of your child goes straight to your heart.
There are also physical pains. Not only are those almost-daily parent-child turf battles emotionally draining, they are physically exhausting. There are the sicknesses that you haven’t experienced since you were a child. The bumps and bruises – and bloody noses – that parents endure everyday, during ordinary playtime.
Fortunately, kids heal incredibly fast. The pains from those bumps and bruises and the memories of those parent-child turf battles seem to wash away with the tears.
Kids are miraculous healers as well. They always seem to have a cure for whatever it is that is ailing us. Sometimes all it takes is a hug from them. Other times it is a hearty dose of humor. When there are those times that I want to cry myself, no one can turn that frown into a smile better than my son. Sometimes even when it’s not intended.
My son is really into back rubs, and refuses to go to sleep without one. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor about this particular obsessive-compulsive personality trait of his.
One evening while brushing his teeth, he asked me to rub his back. I do it, and he giggled as the toothpaste foamed in his mouth, making him look like he was rabid.
Then he cracked, “Rub my head.” I do it, and his face turned red from laughing so hard. With the rosy cheeks and the toothpaste foam oozing down his chin, he resembled a deranged Santa Claus.
Next came, “Rub my two breasts.” Huh? The parents wondered what kind of a monster they had created.
Then he grinned, with chipmunk cheeks, and held up his toothbrush. The parents breathed a sigh of relief. There was no need to call in the child therapist just yet. Their ears had been tricked. A mouthful of saliva and toothpaste had impeded his speech and twisted his innocent “Rub my toothbrush” into something normally reserved for late-night cable.
All the day’s troubles rubbed away as I laughed like a kid while my kid giggled along with me but without having the slightest idea as to how he had tickled my funny bone when it most needed it.
Parents take their lumps, but, fortunately, some of them come in the form of pure sugar.