While my son’s cold may be of the common variety, his chapped lips definitely qualify as severe.
The sudden arctic chill combined with the nonstop mucus out his nose, mouth, and eyes, has formed this red, blistery irritation that pierces my heart every time I look at him.
“Please, Bubba,” I begged (again) this morning. “Please, let Mum put a little Chapstick on you. Or a little Vaseline -something.”
His high-pitched, terror-infused, desperate wails of “no,” cut me even deeper than the sights of his beautiful mouth covered in hard, dry cracks.
I put the Chapstick away. He needed it, but not like this.
Out of ideas, and recognizing that guilt of parent fail wanting to settle in, I reached out to my boss who also happens to be a relationship expert and a leader in the field of using playful engagement as a way to help kids cope.
He gave me a lot of great insights and ideas, and the one that resonated with me the most was to make a special trip out of going to the pharmacy and letting Briggs see all of the different kinds of Chapsticks and balms, and giving him full control to choose whichever one he wanted.
Briggs was into the family trip to the pharmacy and ended up picking out a fruity flavored Blistex 3-pack.
“This way,” he explained, “we can all have one.”
We were all in.
While standing in line, Briggs added:
“Hey Mom, I promise to use mine.”
“Thanks, Bubba. That’s a huge help,” I said. “Sometimes it’s tough doing things you’re not pumped about, but….”
Suddenly, it was our turn and the grandmother on the other side of the counter met us kindly, rang up our items, and then without out prompting, handed Briggs a Valentine chocolate.
And her smile to me seemed to say, “for being brave.”