How did you get one of your scars?
Now, I am assuming that this question relates to physical scars, but I am sure that we could all come up with a multitude of emotional scars. Yes? But for today, I’ll stick with the things sometimes known as cicatrices that result from tissue replacement in the healing process after an injury or wound.
This question brought me back to when I was 5 years old. I remember driving in the back seat of my parents’ car, my brothers sitting on each side of me. There were no car seats. Booster seats. Seat belts. Just a seat and a prayer. As we pulled in front of my Nana’s house, I can still hear my Dad telling us,”Don’t open the doors.” My parents always opened the doors, waited until we piled out… and then they, always, shut the car doors. Those were the rules.
Well, that day I broke one of those rules and I almost lost my finger. I decided that I was plenty old enough to shut the car door. As my parents arranged whatever things were being carried into Nana’s home, I just slammed the car door. Problem is… I did it so quickly that my pinkie finger went along for the ride. Door slammed shut. Finger in door.
I remember the scene like it was yesterday. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t cry. I just stood there until my Mom turned around. There was blood everywhere. She screamed. My Dad raced to the door, opened it gently… then picked me up and ran with me into Nana’s kitchen. My Dad was a medic in the Navy, so he knew exactly what to do. There was no 911, of course, so he did what he had to do in that bloodied kitchen. I remember feeling so faint and weak. But I also remember my Dad holding up my arm, wrapping my hand tightly… and talking to me with such calm. Such love. I kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I thought I was in great big trouble for slamming that door, but my Dad had more important things on his mind. My finger was dangling from my hand like a broken twig. Within moments my hand was wrapped and steadied and my Dad carried me to our car. My Mom gently cradled me while we tore up the street to the hospital. No cell phones to call to say that he was on his way with a potential amputee. Just me. My massive wrap. My Dad and my Mom.
At the hospital, I was taken immediately into a little white room. I remember it so clearly. My Dad held me in his arms until the doctor arrived. Then the unwrapping began. Then the stitches. Then the bandages. Then the news. I would never move my pinkie finger again.
Well, that didn’t happen. The part about never moving my finger. I am told it is because of my Dad’s quick action. His perfect wrapping. I think it’s because of the love. As my finger healed, my Dad and Mom had me doing little finger exercises that made me smile. Little things with puppets and pretend. Yes, I can move my little finger. But the scar? It extends about one inch from my knuckle to my hand… my adult hand. I see it every day as I get ready to do just about anything. It is a reminder of a day long ago that started out pretty badly… but ended pretty OK.
This brings me to another little scar story. I will make it quick. When Audrey was about 12 years old, she got accidentally smacked in the face with a tennis raquet while playing tennis with a friend. The injury was just above one eyebrow. It bled. And bled. But this is the interesting part. As I hurried her into my car for the trip the the emergency room, a friend of mine said, “I’ll get you the name of a great plastic surgeon to take care of the scar.” Well, at that moment the last thing on my mind was the scar…
But when all was well… a couple of stitches later… I thought, “This scar will tell a story. Just like mine.” I must say that I never, ever, considered consulting a plastic surgeon about that scar over Audrey’s eyebrow. I think of it as a badge of childhood. A moment that changed her face a bit. For the better.
Now I do understand that some scars need to be addressed in ways that mine didn’t. I understand because I have friends whose injuries were debilitating… whose scars were life-altering.
But my little finger… and Audrey’s eyebrow? Beauty is only skin deep. It’s the stories beneath that make us who we are.
Now… do you have a scar that tells a story?