Wednesday morning, I opened my eyes to the day and thought, I can't do this.
Right about that same time, Theo was running up the steps to our bedroom, back down again, and out of the house. He was running from Greg, who was holding a needle.
Greg would need to go back to work; Theo would need at least three more shots.
I.can't.do.this. Except: I had to.
I'd run out of reasons--and breath--trying to convince my six-year-old son of the utter necessity of the shot before him and all those to follow, every day for the rest of his life. Greg and I told him the truth, said in different ways and with varying degrees of emotion. By Wednesday morning, when Theo asked again, Why, why, why, Greg blurted out, Because if you don't get shots you'll die.
As I said, we'd exhausted the rationale. There was nothing left but more honesty. I brought him to eye level.
Theo, I said, I need you to know that I can't face another day of fighting you over these shots you know you need. Mama is feeling sick. Mama is not strong enough to battle you anymore. Please, please, if for no other reason, be strong for me.
He did it.
We haven't had a problem since. Not that a switch was suddenly flipped, but rather, my little boy drew up strength and chose to face down his ever-present fears. Every shot since then, he chooses a spot on his body, gathers himself for a moment, and tells us when he's ready.
This has been a week of accepting limitations, being strong, and persevering in the shadow of fear. So today, I registered for that next bench press competition.
Because I can do this.