My heart joyfully, painfully broke. The first day I saw Little Girl in the flesh, the day she breathed her first breath, she had an infection and required a baby IV. She scratched her tiny face raw with it. From the bottom of my heart, the slight break began and inched its way slowly upward. And long before she had the IV removed and received her first princess Band-Aid, I placed my very first Band-Aid over my mama heart.
Little Girl fell when she was a tiny tot. Her mouth kissed a land timber against her will in our front yard. Oh, she cried. I cried. I placed ice on her sweet lip when she’d tolerate it, and I placed a Cinderella Band-Aid on my own heart. I’ll never forget how traumatic the event was, but we were so blessed that she didn’t lose any teeth or need stitches. Thank you, Father. After she cried herself to sleep, I laid her down in her sweet baby bed. I peeked in at her as she was waking. She eased to a sitting position and said, “Big.” I nearly fell to the floor laughing over her remark. And oh, her sweet lip was so swollen.
Not long after that, Littlest Girl had a kidney tumor. It was the nightmare you imagine. And better and worse than you imagine. Littlest Girl had to be poked and prodded. Continual blood-work. Whenever the nurse would cover Littlest Girl’s arm or finger prick with a Band-Aid, Little Girl wanted one, too. And she’d take and place her bandage on her sweet body in the exact same spot as Littlest Girl’s. It was her sweet way of empathizing with her sister. And this mama would open the white wrapper to a Mickey Mouse Band-Aid and place it over her own heart.
As the years passed, boo-boos came and went. More bandages placed over this mama’s heart. The thickness grew and grew, the colors growing wide and vivid.
Little Girl was at church one night. She scooted over on the bench to let a friend sit down. Before she could move her hand, friend sat down on her thumb. It broke. Little Girl was so brave. Her broken thumb didn’t matter one bit to her, but her friend’s broken heart did. We spent the wee hours of the morning in the hospital’s emergency room. And this mama added one pink Barbie Band-Aid to her heart.
Little Girl and Littlest Girl are growing up. One’s a senior. One just turned Sweet 16. Little Girl just got her first car. This mama’s heart can barely take it at times. Every time my girls leave out in that car, without their mama chaperon, I walk into the bathroom, open the cabinet, and look through the assortment of Band-Aids before me. What will it be today? Winnie the Pooh? Superman? Hello Kitty? Hearts? Minnie Mouse? Tinkerbell? Disney’s Frozen.
But that’s what mamas do. Right? We love our kids. Through broken bones, broken toys, broken dreams, broken hearts. Because love always takes a risk. But it’s the pain and the cuts and the scrapes on our hearts that turn it more beautiful, brighter, more colorful.
And as the thickness of the bandages grows, the padding becomes softer. And with the extra softness, we’re able to take a little bit more in order to comfort others a little bit more. Like … to comfort our children. To offer a soft place for our children to place their head against our hearts as we hold and comfort them. No matter how old they get. And for one day to comfort our children when our grandchildren get their first boo-boos, or endure surgery, or endure disease, or endure stepping into the arms of Jesus. We never know, do we? One day to the next. We never know.
The mama heart never stops adding bandage after bandage. Peeling away the wrapper—that end of the sticky side, the other end of the sticky side—and placing it over the heart.
Because a mama hurts when her babies hurt.
Mama, this is your Shelli. Your Shelli Ann. Thank you for the bandages you’ve taken for me, taken for your grandchildren. Season after season. Thank you for your beautiful heart. Yes, that beautiful heart of yours, covered in layers of Band-Aids—bright pinks, greens … princesses, tiaras, Eeyore, Mickey Mouse, hearts …. Thank you for the prayers you’ve prayed and the tears you’ve cried over me. For watching me walk out that door, for watching me take one step away from you, for watching me get cuts and scrapes and broken. You know all my secret broken places, all my secret injuries and scrapes. Thank you for all the times you’ve let me rest my head against your soft stack of Band-Aids and allowed me to cry my heart out. And thank you for all the times that you’ve placed the bandage over me and for adding one more bandage to your own …
To make a mother’s heart …
A mother’s heart that is beautiful, bright, bold … bandaged.
And a dear friend’s daughter survived a horrible car accident recently. We are praying for McKenna, who is 18. Her mama’s heart is buried deep in bandages right now. Would you pray with us, too?
Happy Mother’s Day.
16 thoughts on “When a Mama’s Heart is Covered in Band-Aids”
My daily sniffle, brought by Shelli!!
Our little ones are all grown up and flown the nest – how lovely it was to sit in the memories this morning. Thank you, Shelli.
Love this. Thank you for sharing. The imagery of a heart covered in bandages is perfect.
Aww! I love you, Jennifer.
Thank you, Diane. People tell you early on that the time flies. It's hard to truly understand what they mean until you see it with your eyes. The baby faces become mature faces. If they could just stay little. 🙂
You are so welcome. I'm so glad you stopped by … brightened my day.
Today you brought tears and smiles, Shelli–the mark of a gifted writer. A couple of days ago my grandson got a miniscule scratch on his finger. Of course, it needed a Band-aid. Two minutes later, he pulled it off to see if it was gone. And minutes after that he got pickle juice on that uncovered scratch and it stung. Makes me think of how we ask God to heal but are too impatient to let him take the time needed to accomplish it!
Becky, you always bless me. I still can't believe I ended up sitting by you at ACFW … the Lord is so good to me. I'm so glad to know you. I love the story of your grandson … oh, so true … we want healing now … and sometimes that just takes time, years. Or we think we're healed, and like you said, we feel the sting and realize we jumped the gun a bit. 🙂 I miss you. I can't wait to see you in person again. 🙂
This is really lovely, Shelli. Thank you for sharing it. I'm deeply moved by your love and faith.
Better to have loved than never to have loved at all. I know that's a cliche usually relating to male/female relationships, but you chose these daughters in a special way, just like I did my Brittany. God uses them to teach us things he can teach us any other way. I feel the same way about my little rescue dog. Only through his personality can my Savior use me to be more patient and kind. I'm not always that way with people. Sad, but I know how I can be!
What an accomplishment, Shelli, to look back at your Little Girl's life and now that you've raised her to graduate from high school. I loved the part about how she learned empathy and wanted a Band-aid when Littlest Girl was hurt.
Prayers for wisdom of the doctors and for healing of your friend's daughter.
Happy Mother's Day.
Thank you, Melodie. I can't believe they are so grown-up. They went to Sonic for the first time by themselves recently … got tickled about that. And thank you for praying for my friend's daughter. She's healing. There were two in the accident … her friend needs prayer, too. Love you, Melodie … hope your weekend is a beautiful one.
Andrew! I just saw your comment. Thank you, sweet friend. I hope you are feeling stronger. I'm praying for you.
I raised boys. No princess bandages for us! There was the time two of them collided head-on, and I wondered how much blood on the sidewalk was too much. But my most memorable boy-booboo was the thumbnail hanging by a thread a few days after being slammed by a hammer. Our doctor pulled it off, and the little victim saw opportunity: “If I put it under my pillow, will I get money?” Our pediatrician, unimpressed, threw it in the trash, adding “I know about the tooth fairy. I never heard of a fingernail fairy.”
Shirlee!! That is priceless! And girls are lucky that they can get by with girly bandages or probably-meant-for-boy ones! My girls would take a Star Wars bandage over a princess one, for certain.
You have such a sweet way with words, Shellie. So precious to get a glimpse into your mama heart.
Joanne, I don't know how I missed your comment. I'm just now seeing it. Just going through some of my posts … not really sure why, but I ran across your precious comment. Thank you so much. You really blessed me.