Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Bravery is a relative thing. Sometimes it is merely doing what is asked of you when you do not want to do it. On Monday our grandson Xander had to get his vaccines up to date for school. His parents made an appointment at our local clinic, and Diane and I took him so Dad could stay at work and Mom, who is nine months pregnant, could stay home and rest -- it was both an easy thing for us and a delight to spend the time with Xander. But the clinic only had one of the three shots he needed, so at about noon Xander got his first shot. He asked the PA if it would hurt, and she told him, "I won't lie to you -- it will hurt, but just a little." Bravely, he took the shot without flinching, though he did say "Ow, ow, ow." Then he got a cool band-aid. But the bad news was that we had to travel into Kalispell to the associated clinic for the other two shots. So we piled into the car and headed north for the half hour drive. From his car seat, Xander commented, "I don;t like shots." We answered that nobody does, but they are necessary to keep you from getting sick, and you need them to be allowed in school. I don't think that helped much. He pretended to fall asleep, I think in hopes that we would skip the second stop. But we didn't. By the time the second PA came in, this time with two needles and two even cooler band-aids, Xander had had an hour to think about the pain he would feel. We all know how thinking about something unpleasant is worse than the thing itself, which made me think Xander was even more brave as she gave him a shot first in the right arm and then in the left. Again, he didn't flinch. Again, he offered a chorus of "ows" but not one tear. And in the waiting room, while we waited for the paperwork proving he had his shots, Xander started playing with two other little kids, animatedly discussing how shots hurt, as if to give each other strength in numbers and in shared experience. And I was thinking: how wonderfully brave.

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