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May 28
1888 - Olympian Jim Thorpe, "America's greatest athlete," born in Indian Territory (probably near Prague, Okla.); later in life, appeared in many B-Westerns shot in Placerita Canyon [story]
Jim Thorpe


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Sep 27, 2014

JenniferFischerSometimes a memory comes to me in the form of a song – not the usual thing where the song triggers a memory, but rather the song is the memory or is representative, more often, of a series of memories which, in my mind, have bound themselves together with the song.

It’s really like a montage in a film. The song plays in my head along with the montage, or fragments of different moments that are now connected together to form a new whole. A composite memory, if you will.

Today the song is one my father often sang to me. I never knew the name of the song, but the Internet tells me it’s “Are My Ears On Straight?” or “I’m a Little Doll.” You might know it:

I’m a little doll that has just been broken,

Falling off my mama’s knee.

I’m a little doll that has just been mended,

So won’t you tell me please:

Are my ears on straight?

Is my nose in place?

Do I have a cute expression on my face?

Are my blue eyes bright?

Do I look all right?

To be taken home Christmas Day?

This song floats through my childhood and often was sung to me when I was being “mended” – usually Band-Aids on knees and elbows scraped up from a dirt bike crash. I’ve never broken a bone (knock on wood) and didn’t get my first stitches until college. There were countless sprained ankles playing basketball, but as I was older by then (middle school and high school), I doubt my father still sang me that song – although I’m sure it floated through my mind as I nursed an injured ankle with an ice pack.

Recently, this song memory came to me in the middle of the night after having spent a late afternoon and early evening in the emergency room at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with my eldest son receiving his first stitches, above his left eye. His scar will mirror my own, as I have a scar from stitches above my right eye.

He had an unfortunate accident when shutting the car door. The door smacked him right in the face – as he says, “It was like SMASH.” He was scared but also brave. It’s not easy watching your son being wrapped up like a burrito and a rather large needle inserted into his head, quite deeply, before being stitched up.

Yet, in addition to memories from my own childhood that reminded me of the difference the love, care and concern of a parent can make in those situations when a child is scared and hurting, I also found myself reflecting on how lucky we are. I found myself full of gratitude…

Grateful that the injury was not worse.

Grateful for a neighbor and new friend who was so helpful and accepting when we showed up at the door – crying child with blood on his face.

Grateful to have affordable healthcare. (I know the Affordable Care Act is not loved by everyone, but I am grateful for it.)

Grateful to live near a healthcare facility that took good care of my child.

Grateful to live in a place where this minor injury is well taken care of – cleaned, stitched, etc., so it won’t lead to further, more extreme injuries.

Grateful that a trip to the hospital is rare for our family, unlike the families we work with through our Spotlight On Hope Film Camp (a free camp for children with pediatric cancer) who spend way too much time in hospitals and with doctors and who, far too often, see their children hurting.

I think this is what I’ve been thinking about the most. When my son was hurting – quite a bit – it was hard to watch, of course. But knowing the pain of the needle and the discomfort and fear of the stitching process would make him better, so the wound could heal properly, made it easier.

I realized that experience is nothing compared to a parent watching a child go through chemotherapy and radiation or sending a child to an operating room for surgery.

One of the joys of the Spotlight On Hope Film Camp for me has been not only seeing the children lost in the filmmaking process – separated from the realities of treatment for a few days – but also seeing their parents caught up in it. Often the parents stay at the camp and hover on the fringes. They want to experience the joy their children are experiencing. They want to learn about the filmmaking process, too. They want to be a part of the magic, and it makes me happy. These parents often have to watch their children hurt; they absolutely deserve to watch their children dream, play and thrive.

I’m grateful to share that experience with the families. Sometimes, life gets busy, and I forget I have so much to be thankful for. I’ll bet I’m not the only one. Stop today and take a few moments to look around and say thank you. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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