My daughter had an anxiety meltdown about 13.5 hours into the trip (for a refresher about her anxiety see Day 42 Scooting Past Anxiety). She had a broken toenail that was barely hanging on, but unfortunately, was attached to the part of the toe where you can get ingrown nails. Ouch. But what concerned her was whether or not there would be blood if I clipped the nail off (for the record, she's never seen bleed from me clipping her nails before!).
This discussion (well, I discussed, she freaked out) began at the 12.5 hour of the trip and continued off and on until the end. "You cut it... no, I'll do it myself... Ohhh, I can't do it, you do it! But it'll hurt! I'll do it." She then tried to trim the nail herself and then lost the courage to continue, became frustrated and tearful.
She kept saying I didn't understand her and no matter what I said, I couldn't say the right thing. Especially when I told her she was brave. She disagreed with me vehemently! "Please stop saying that! I'm not brave!!" I, was surprised that she really said that actually, but she obviously felt it to be true.
I began to show her how brave she was. "You don't think you're brave? But you wouldn't jump in the pool like you did if you weren't brave! And would someone who isn't brave pick up starfish like you did? Or try to catch tadpoles, and fireflies? I think you're really brave!" Her damp little cheeks began to plump up, and she smiled widely, her blue eyes sparkling. She calmed down enough to let us wait until home to take care of the nail. Actually, I should sneak into her room now and clip that nail while she's sleeping.
I'm off to take care of stray nails, but know that I smiled just as intensely as she was while listening to my examples of her bravery. At one point during the end of our trip, I looked back at her to see her watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, wearing headphones, clipping her nails with the cute little red safety clippers, and actually smiling. She was laughing at Dopey. It was a beautiful scene, she looked happy and unconcerned. Those are the moments that make me smile, the moments when they learn to let it go.