Paul dreaded it. The pain last time? Memorable.
When I mentioned it yesterday, he admitted he'd hoped I'd forgotten. "I hoped you wouldn't remember, Mommy, so we wouldn't have to go."
The poor guy's ears fill up with wax frequently, leaving him with dulled, ineffective hearing. We have to repeat ourselves often, which is more of a problem for us, than for him. He's a thinker, a tinkerer, a mathematician and artist. Only vaguely hearing his surroundings works for him.
At the ENT's office today, I ask about giving Paul Tylenol beforehand, to dull the pain of the suction pulling on the eardrum. I explained that Paul dreaded this procedure. For weeks.
"Really?", he says. "It shouldn't hurt when I pull out the crusty stuff. Cleaning the softer wax off the eardrum might be a little uncomfortable, but not really painful."
This is the third time Paul's had this procedure. Each time, his body tenses. A tear or two drops. He answers the doctor in a voice laden with impending tears. I'm his mother and I know when he--or any of my children--are in pain. This procedure hurts!
I like this doctor very much. He's great....better than most, even. But he should never minimize or deny pain, when someone under his care is suffering. That just makes a kid feel stupid.
No, I don't expect him to act like a women. I'd be very surprised to see him hug my boy and express sorrow over the discomfort.
Driving home, I tell Paul how sorry I am that the doctor didn't understand the pain. Paul stood strong, only shedding one tear and not complaining--repeatedly telling the doctor that, yes, he was doing fine. Shaky voice notwithstanding.
Older brother Peter, then said, "Is he a mean doctor, then?"
Peter noticed Paul's tense body and the tear shed. He whispered in my ear, during the procedure, that poor Paul was miserable.
Now for a little side diversion, related to today's discussion.
A few days ago, Peter asked me, "Why doesn't Daddy care about the poor like you do?"
When he said that, I knew it was time.
The differences between men and women get confusing for children. Once in a while, they need an interpreter.
So in the car, driving home today, I made my attempt.
Before I go on, let me say this: I know a couple women who are such jokers, they have a hard time feeling deep emotion. Humorous people--female and male alike--are great at staying on the sidelines. On the outside looking in, they can see the humor the rest of us are oblivious to (until someone jokingly points it out). After they point it out, we can laugh until our bellies hurt.
Praise God for the comedians among us!
I also know men who are so softhearted, they can't push emotional pain away. But they're the exception--maybe the artists and writers.
Most men push emotional pain away, consciously, deliberately. They refuse to deal with it head on, giving the impression of hardheartedness. God created them to work hard, providing for their families. They have to stay focused on that; they must compartmentalize. This is protective, for the good of the family.
When a child dies or suffers pain, they get angry about it, shaking their fists at God, for a time. Meanwhile, the wife burrows, cries, and needs an excuse to get up in the morning. She's fully in the sadness. Fully living it. It consumes her, nearly.
This is true regarding her personal pain, and sometimes, even in regard to the pain of acquaintances.
If you read Dana's blog, you know the pain she's walking. Matthias, her toddler, died 10.5 months ago, after a heavy dresser crushed him. She still moves in a trance through her days, missing him with every heavy breath. A Christian, she knows that God is good. That His work on the cross is all she needs. She holds on to the hope that someday, she will know joy again--more than joy in a single moment. Joy in every moment.
For now, she fights for every smile. Her blog is so painful to read, that I fear for my own children the minute I finish reading. Still, I read it anyway, every several weeks, so I can remember to pray. Her burden is so great, we can't not share it.
Back to my kids in the car today.
I explained that the doctor doesn't focus on patient pain because he must think clearly about how to bring healing. A doctor mustn't get distracted from the task at hand--healing, solving the problem.
This made sense to them.
I told them Daddy doesn't like to focus on the children suffering from starvation and pain, because doing so is too painful. It makes him too angry. Too distracted. He can't stand the intensity.
Even his own daughter's arthritis angers him.
But, he does feel. He does hate that children are suffering. He hates it a lot. As much as Mommy does.
Do you know what my boys said?
"I do that too, Mommy. I try to push it away."
I explained that God designed them that way, and that someday, God would give them a wife, and the two personalities would balance each other. Balance is God's design.
Each person, man and wife, are given their own unique jobs. That's God's design, too. The woman nurtures and feels and comforts, and the man provides food and shelter and clothing, and keeps the family's foundation strong and functional.
Mary and Beth mostly ignored the discussion, it seemed, but Paul and Peter ate it up. They understood perfectly. They were comforted, even, to understand Daddy's mind, and their own minds, better.
What did I leave out?
The fact that it only took me.....eleven years of marriage to figure this out!
I understand my husband now, and I respect him more. I'm so thankful for the rock he is.
God knows every detail about the family. He designed the family.
The more we embrace His design, the more joyful we live!