Those are the words that my parents spoke to me when I had the audacity to cry over something that they deemed ridiculous. Now, my definition of ridiculous and theirs varies greatly. When they told me that my cat ran away to get married, I cried. They consoled me that Squeaky was going to be just fine and would live happily ever after with his new family. Years later, I discovered that Squeaky did not run away to get married. More like my parents left a door open and Squeaky got hit by a car and was killed. Shedding tears after getting belted across the face (ahh, the good ole days) was NOT a reason to cry. That was deemed ridiculous and would lead to the ominous warning of “Knock your shit off or I’ll give you something to really cry about.” Luckily for me, I was a relatively good child. I did not push the limits to find out “what else can go wrong?” I tell myself that the beatings and warnings made me stronger. The truth is, it probably just totally destroyed my self-confidence and self-esteem (Thanks Mom & Dad!). However. As a parent, I now understand the meaning behind this threat. Drama Queen girls.
Earlier today I heard the screams of pain and suffering. I run like the wind up the stairs. This is no easy feat as I am absolutely what I like to call The Big O. Old, Overweight, and Out of Shape. I push through the door at the top of the stairs, eyes clenched shut tightly (I hate blood), and yell “WHO IS HURT?” It is my 5 year old niece who I watch a couple of days per week. She is holding her hand, wrapped in an entire roll of paper towels. I yell “Did you lose a finger?” She is crying and sobbing and hiccuping so much that I can’t understand her. I take a deep breath and look. And see nothing. I peer closer. Finally, a drop of blood, the size of a pin needle, appears. “I got a paper cut and it is bleeding so much.” No it’s not. Not even remotely close. My inner Mom is now battling with my inner strong woman. I am trying to console her. I intend to say “It’s okay, baby. It’s going to be fine.” What actually comes out is “Really? You need to save your tears for real tragedies and this is not one. You are totally overreacting.” She stares at me and stops crying. I am now blotting her finger, the one not gushing blood, with a baby wipe. I am telling her “It’s nothing, you’re okay.” I attempt to peel that tiny bit of skin that always sticks up when you get a paper cut and you’d think I was telling her that I was about to amputate. She starts flailing and trying to hit me. Now, I’m not into hitting kids. I’m not actually into hitting anyone (other than very stupid customers). I take her by the wrist and say calmly “Auntie will never hurt you. I promise, I’ll never hurt you. We just need to remove this so we can put a Band-Aid on. She ain’t havin’ none o’ that. She assumes a karate position and is ready to fight me to the death. The crocodile tears start again. And at that moment, my mother popped out of my mouth. “Please stop crying or I will be forced to give you something to cry about.” She stops and says “What will it be?” Foiled by a 5 year old because I have absolutely no answer. I never pushed the limits so I don’t actually KNOW what comes next. I tell her “You don’t want to know. It’s sooooooooo bad.” She giggles at me. She knows I will not do anything drastic. She sits on my lap and says “Why I gotta be strong?” I had an answer for this one!
I told my niece “You have to be strong because women are responsible for many things in life. Lots of things hurt, like having a baby, but we do them. When a woman is sick she will still get out of bed and take care of her family. When one of her kids is hurt, she will put aside her own fears and show them that she is there for them, she won’t want anyone to see how afraid she is. Then there’s the kitchen. She will burn herself over and over on that darn stove but she has to feed her family so she will just keep cooking.” She looked at me and said “Women strong.” I said “Baby, you have no idea. Now, about that amputation…….” At that point my brother walked in to pick her up. I announced to him “The patient is in Room 2 and is NOT heavily sedated. You should do something about that.” LOL.