As I described here a few weeks ago, I am recovering from a cracked rib thanks to an overenthusiastic hug from my suddenly gigantic son. Generally, I'm a pretty enthusiastic hugger myself, so I've found I now have to warn friends not to embrace me when I meet them on the street.
The other morning, I ran into my friend S coming out of our health club. "Don't!" I cried as she moved toward me, and explained what had happened. This led to a discussion about parenting in general, and our sons in particular, that was so engrossing that when we parted, 20 minutes later, we had both forgotten about my rib and wrapped our arms around each other. Suddenly I was yelling in pain, and S jumped back, horrified. "I'm so sorry!"
"No, no, I forgot, too! It wasn't until I was in the middle of it that I realized how painful it was."
"What a wonderful metaphor for parenthood," S responded. "'I didn't realize until I was in the middle of it what I was getting into. I didn't realize I was broken there until you touched me.'"
She is so right. But we both agreed that unlike my injury, parenthood also offers amazing opportunities for healing, growth--and bonding with other parents over shared experiences.