She's semi-limping around the house.
"What's wrong with your foot?" I ask.
"It hurts a little."
"Can I look at it?"
"Yes, but don't touch it Mommy."
"Okay...It looks like you have a splinter. See how there's a little black line there--"
"DON'T TOUCH IT!!! It will hurt SO much if you touch it."
"Do you want me to get it out so it will feel better?"
"No. I can just walk like this." She demonstrates, walking with her foot turned sideways so the part with the splinter doesn't touch the ground.
It's awkward to see. Kind of painful actually. I sit, watching her normally carefree stride become this unnatural, foot turned sideways, clumsy gait.
"Can we get a band-aid to put on it? That will make it feel better," she says, with hope in her four-year-old face.
"You can have a band-aid, but I don't think it will feel better until we get the splinter out."
"I think it will," she says with confidence.
It doesn't. So later in the day, I'm sitting, holding her foot as she cries, removing the splinter with tweezers, and as soon as we're done she wants me to hold her and help dry her tears. Of course I do. We put a little antibiotic ointment on the wound, and a Dora the Explorer band-aid and all is well (or at least a whole lot better). The next day she grins as she dances and says, "Mommy, isn't my foot SO much better, now?"
I can't help but think how much like my wounded little girl I can be sometimes. Maybe it's not physical, but spiritual, emotional. There's something like a splinter just beneath the surface. It's uncomfortable, often even painful. I may let someone close enough to see that it's there, but I'd really rather they not touch it. I make excuses for why I don't just deal with it and get it out, but it alters my "walk". I might keep it for so long that I forget that it's really not a part of how I was intended to be, until it's removed.
Then, like my little girl, I notice how much better everything can be without the splinters, and I dance.