Ear Tubes and Tattoos

May You Be Healthy

I knew it, almost immediately. He would become tired a little quicker, cranky, less likely to settle into his snack.  He’d rub his ears, the tears would come. My son, Benjamin, had 11 ear infections in less than a year.  We’d run to the doctor for every single inkling he wasn’t feeling well, they’d nod and say “both ears.”

 He wasn’t really talking either.  We’d sit in our kitchen, and he’d point and throw himself on the ground in frustration when of course I couldn’t understand that he really wanted his water cup, not the muffin.  He wasn’t really talking, because he couldn’t really hear. He heard us like he was living under water. He cried. I cried.

Finally, at 20 months, they decided that really, the best alternative to all this cyclical ear pain for my poor sweet son, was to put tubes in.  Now, I must preface this all by saying, this is not a big procedure, this is not even really a big deal.  Tubes in toddler ears are pretty much as standard as they come.  That did not mean that we were not worried.

 When the morning of his surgery came, we were nervous. I paced around, took heavy breaths.  I put on my Nest Ink tattoos, “May You Be Healthy,” and “May You Be Loved.” There was something about wearing the tattoos that made me feel like not only was someone loving and protecting my son, but also loving and protecting me. As parents, we often forget that we are people ourselves, we forget to put the oxygen mask on first. The tattoos grounded me to take care of myself, to take deep breaths, to relax for my son. To remember in the end, it will all be okay.

We put Benjamin in his gown and waited for them to call us into the room.  He was a champ like no other and was out in 15 minutes.

Benjamin smiles a lot more now. He looks when we call him from across the room. My heart melts. I have my boy back.

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