While snuggling my little O Saturday afternoon, my fingers ran across and slammed on the brakes on a pebble-sized lump in his neck, at the point where it slopes into his right shoulder. A discrete little bugger, it's hard and protrudes slightly.
I am not a freaky mom in the sense that bruises, a little blood, jumping off of high'ish places --none of that really alarms me. Especially with Oliver. He is a robust, coordinated young buster and will likely be heavy into contact sports in a few years despite what will be mighty protestations from me.
So, my fingers paused and then started in on a full scale examination; I felt like a mother monkey. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't panic a bit. By that evening, I was sure it was a cancerous tumor, and by last night, I was sneaking into his room to scoop him out of his crib, rock him and cry softly on his shoulder.
In all likelihood, it's a node or a lipoma (a nicer word for a benign fatty deposit). When I dropped O at school this morning and told his teachers I'd be picking him up early to run him to the pediatrician, they all assured me it was just a node, perhaps he had/is getting a cold?, and encouraged me to feel similar pebbles in their necks. God love these women. They sure made me feel better and smile, both of which go a long way.
Mr. Picture of Health probably still is that, and for that salubriousness, I am grateful beyond words. It's funny how quickly your baseline can be altered, how your sense of footing can be thrown. It makes me think of life as an experience on a tightrope or balance ball at the gym: stop paying attention, and you fall, miss something, literally or more along the lines of appreciation.
I find it nearly impossible to live in a constant state of aware gratification, but in the moments I can and do, I realize how the myriad sayings about living in the moment came to be. What is important changes radically in times of fear of loss. The vomitous explosion of Legos we were irked about earlier (really, can't the boys just clean up after themselves?)? Who gives a rat's bum when juxtaposed with the health of your child?
Experiences like these, at least for me, are -ultimately- quite valuable. They balance the scale of life, bring me back to a centered point of focus and appreciation and perspective. In an hour, I'll have the doctor's feedback which will probably be a kind "he's totally fine, Emily", but in either case (god forbid), I know I will be forever thankful for all the little moments I've been even more appreciative of lately: the butterfly kisses, the extra snuggles, the total willingness to stay on the floor being silly for 5 more minutes, for hearing "I love you, Mommy" uttered in that sweet little voice as he rests his head on my shoulder.
Will they help me stay zen about the guys installing FiOS for my neighbor which is, at present, requiring them to uproot half the perimeter of my yard? Probably not because although I've been out there three times to put up barricades around my plants, ask and, alternately, demand that they NOT step on all the emerging buds, I see big boot tracks, crushed greens and heavy tools.
Like I said, isn't it always something?!