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My 18 year old son, Brady, had oral surgery and he left the doctor’s office with a big white bandage around his head (to be honest, he looked a little like the ghost of Marley in A Christmas Carol).

I had been anticipating this procedure for awhile now. I kept hoping that his teeth would somehow miraculously change or that some dentist would say he didn’t need it.

I was afraid.

When I feel fear, I have a hard time allowing whatever frightens me to just “be”. I want to control it or change it or ignore it. I want to push it away or obsess about it to keep it outside of “me”.  I feel that weird stomach-churning, “pebble-in-your-mind” thing when something frightens me… it’s anything but peaceful.

But, Brady did it and now it was over. I helped him from the office and down the hall.

Waiting at the elevator, there were two bouncy kids and a Dad.

The boy was older/taller than the girl and they sort of did that wiggly, can’t-stand-in-one-place thing that kids do. But, as my 6’2” son approached, they both stopped short – amazed with both his height and his very impressive head gear. The little girl stared up at him and then proudly showed off two bandaids – one on each arm.

“I got two shots… and they hurt like 11!” she announced.

Her brother showed off his bandaids, “Me too! I got them too!”

They got real close to Brady. The boy seriously looked at him and finally asked,

“What happened to you?”

Brady tried to smile. He squeezed out an answer through the gauze and the drugs “I had my teeth out.”

“Huh.”

The boy suddenly said, “I had heart surgery”

… and proceeded to pull up his striped T-shirt to show us a long scar in the center of his chest, then another on his side and yet a third on his abdomen. He pointed to each of them, like the coolest show-and-tell, making sure we had a chance to really take them in.

“Wow”, Brady mumbled, “you’re the man.”

The dad nodded and gently bopped the son on the head with a rolled up pamphlet he was holding, “Yep. Children’s Hospital saved his life 3 years ago.”

I caught the dad’s eye and saw a wave of love and gratitude and exhaustion.

“You’re brave” I said to the boy.

“Yep.” he smiled back. “Yep, I am”

We all piled into the elevator. It took the girl a bit to understand the arrows that open and close the door, but soon we headed down. The dad and I joked, the kids chatted about growing up, we landed on the ground floor, we turned right, said our goodbyes and they turned left.

I can’t stop thinking about that boy.

He owned it. There was no cover up, there was no diversion, there was no avoidance. He helped me reconsider the idea of “peace”. We spend so much time trying to put everything in place, changing things, rearranging things so we can feel peaceful… But the minute he pulled up his shirt I saw that it’s not about changing the circumstances, cause sometimes you really can’t… it’s about finding peace within the circumstances.

That boy owned the scars and the past pain and the amazing triumph…

 

…that little man owned the true idea of peace.

Alison Martin

Alison Martin -- wife, mom, Emmy-award winning actress, writer, chocoholic. Bronx Italian, daughter of Pultizer Prize winning reporters, who also identifies as L.A. Irish. Shout outs: Dan, Emilia, Brady, pooches - LuLu & Ted, friends, Mother Earth, serendipity, peace, VIPHS, Boldfaced Secret, living life like your socks feel real good.

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