The scream came from downstairs. My daughter, Faith, had just shut her brother’s finger in the French door. By the time I flew down to ascertain what the commotion was, blood was pouring down Caleb’s little hand and he was trembling in fear and pain. The door had peeled back a flap of skin just above one of his fingernails, creating an opening for the scary red fluid to gush out.

After a little attention from his Mommy, and the application of a Spiderman bandaid, he resumed playing.

The next day (this past Saturday), the scream came from my own mouth. After a long day of placing rocks around my yard and pond, I was setting the last jagged block of granite inside the waterfall. It slipped and caught the top of my thumb, jamming it against the adjacent rock. Instinctively, I jerked my hand out, ripping the skin back from the top of my throbbing thumb. It caused a flap of flesh to hinge open just like my son’s.

After a little attention from my Honey, and the application of a gauze wrap, I resumed working.

Caleb arose from his nap yesterday and said that his finger was doing better and he therefore didn’t need the bandaid anymore. After 24 hours of cleaning and many doses of triple-antibiotic ointment, I decided that it was time for my thumb to get some air also. As we sat enjoying our dinner, Caleb and I compared our wounds. Surprisingly similar, they bonded us further as father and son – common affliction, common caregiver, common boasting of our battle scars.

Double_digits

(Image: Like father, like son)

It’s these little things in life that often become the most cherished. The small gesture. The well-timed hug. The joint visit to the first aid kit. They are the times to be remembered. They are the gem moments that will be talked about with our children and their grandchildren as we rock away on the front porch.

We often think of the orphaned child as merely the one who has lost his or her parents. There is a compartment in our brains that simply categorizes and labels them as fatherless and motherless. We often forget that the loss isn’t just one of a custodial attention and authority structure. It is a loss of thousands of precious moments, thousands of special connections and memories, thousands of times of love and care.

…The boy on the street who doesn’t have a mommy to bandage the finger he just cut on a rusty tin can. The girl who doesn’t have a daddy to run to when her leg is bleeding from a fall…

Caleb just came in and wished me a "Good morning, daddy." He held out his finger to show me that the flap was now just dried skin. I asked if I could twist it off for him and he agreed. As I was going about this all-important task for my son, I told him that, "When daddy’s finger flap dries out, you can twist it off for him also, ok?" Caleb chuckled and his dead epidermis came free. I then plopped it into his open hand and said, "Look, it’s the top of your finger!"

Wide smile. Priceless.