Tonight while making dinner, the boys were swapping scar stories, as boys do. Steven showed off a rugged mark of a playground fall and Luke talked about a scrape from an old porch board. Anthony nodded his head forward to show them
one in his hairline and said, “My birth dad told me one story about how it happened, but he lies all the time, so I’m not sure.”
Robin laughed and said, “That’s nothing…my arm was nearly ripped off by a broken window while saving a baby from some lions.”
It was a few years back when she first noticed the jagged scar wrapping nearly all the way around her left wrist. Lines and creases mar an otherwise flawless skin, a remnant of a past she can’t remember and most of the time, she’s glad to forget.
We dug out the piles of old Child Welfare paperwork, documenting her ugly history before she landed on my door at six years old. We scoured the medical records, assuming such a vial scar would surely have required medical attention, but with no result.
There was nothing, no mention in a caseworker notes or recorded doctor visit indicating such an accident or even purposeful attack that would have left such a mark. Nothing.
And so, I said, “Probably you were saving a baby from a burning building…” because what else could I say?
“Or lions,” she said, her young imagination began to work and her eyes widened in excitement.
And so it was set in the historical records of our family, that Robin was a hero in her younger years, capable of great deeds of sacrifice and the strength to fend off lions.
I wrote briefly HERE about a conversation I had with Robin a while back. I was driving down the road and talking to Mya about how when she was little, she was afraid of the moon shining through her bedroom window. We laughed about how silly it was and what a funny little kid she was, and since I’ve had her since she was a baby, there is much information to share. Robin, sitting quietly beside me, said,
“I wish I knew if I was afraid of the moon.”
It’s true. We know nothing about Robin’s early childhood. And likewise, we know little of any of our children’s lives before they became a part of ours. Only what they remember, and with histories like theirs, they mostly just block it all out.
We don’t know if they were skinny as a rail or plump as a penguin. We don’t know if they always had a dirty face, if they were a walking disaster…like I assume Billy was…or neat as a pin. We don’t know if they talked early or walked late. We don’t know anything about them at all, except that they needed someone and that someone wasn’t there.
And so sometimes, as when Robin fended off the lions…because that IS what happened, we mak e stuff up. We get creative. We
invent a history with color, with flair, so when those dark visions cast an angry cloud over what should have been a sunny childhood, they have something to hold on to. Because God knows, they need something to hold on to.