My daughter had quite a night last night. When she joined her class for a roller-skating trip, it seems she took the "trip" part a little too literally. Trip she did, falling right on her wrist. She came home in terrible pain which affected her ability to write, yet only heightened her ability to whine. And every parent knows how much their own child's whine can seem like nails on a chalkboard. I offered arnica gel (a true gift from G‑d via the health food store) and Tylenol, but neither did the trick. Then I noticed a bigger boo boo. She had gotten badly chaffed by the roller skates, yet all I had was diaper cream. Just the mention of it sent my seven-year-old into a fit of giggles. Don't you just love a face with tears streaming down combined with a smile and the giggles? I think of it as a perfect moment.

The real tears began to fall and her body began to heaveAfter she was lathered up and smelling like a newborn (I got nostalgic from the smell and tried to rock her like I used to, but it was a no-go – but a great excuse for more giggles), she sat back down to finish her homework and was seemingly on the road to recovery. But that is when the real tears began to fall and her body began to heave. I knew why instantly. I was on new turf.

You see, it was only recently that I have begun my role as the family nurse. This was previously her father's domain. He was our medicine man. From dialing for diagnosis to making sure our medicine cabinet was always stocked, he handled everything. A trip to the pharmacy could take him hours, scouring each over-the-counter item for the correct mix of symptoms, daytime/nighttime, frequency of suspension (Vicks Vapor Rub sent us a thank you note for their increased sales in our area). He created charts as a reminder for dispensing medicines when needed and made the best tea with lemon and honey.

I watched her patiently, not sure how to respond. I couldn't scoop her up since she had just protested against it and I was sure to bump some injury in my valiant efforts. I couldn't create a potion to take away too much pain for her small frame and big eyes. Yet, as I just stood, she could feel my desire to protect her and felt my love wrapped around her like a warm blanket on a cold night.

As the tears began to wane, she looked at me and stated that she didn't even know why she was crying. I gave her a confused look. She had cried out for her father as a wolf howls at the moon. "I mean," she paused to catch her breath and wipe her nose and eyes with one fluid sweep of her arm as only a child can do, "You take perfectly good care of me, right?" Her hands waved in the air, showing the obvious reality. "So why should I be crying?"

While a part of me then wanted to burst into tears, simultaneously, my own inner healer strutted her stuff. "Mmmhh" is all I muttered, allowing her the space of healing without outwardly patting myself on the back. She smiled and put her head down.

I kept the good energy of our "moment" flowingBack to the math. I tried to make the three pages of homework go quickly by firing questions at her and writing the answers myself. I made an effort to write as second graderly as possible (not such a stretch) and we pounded out that homework faster than I had ever seen before. I kept the good energy of our "moment" flowing and kept her giggling as I snuck in fifty-three minus seventeen. She went easily to bed without the usual fanfare and reading marathon.

I left the room still feeling like a healer. I hadn't just healed the patient, I had healed all of us. I brought down her feverish fear that only her father could take care of her needs. I overcame the endless symptoms of guilt from my fear, that alone I couldn't give each of my children what they need. Together we removed one of the band-aids from one of the wounds we received from my husband walking out on us, and the divorce that followed. And the result was a little less anger and hurt in our bodies.

As I climbed the stairs to our inverted house, I didn’t make the usual b-line for the computer to shield away the difficulties of the day. My daughter had given me the medicine I needed to do some work around the house and deal with the very things I had been avoiding. She had given me the okay to be a successful single mother. I didn’t have to wallow in my loneliness or oneness. She gave me the strength to be two. That night, I learned that as hard as it may be at times, somehow I will manage to give my children the correct dosages of emotional support they need so badly (and even the right amounts of medicinal support as well), a proper Jewish education, and most importantly, for as long as I need to, I can be both mommy and daddy!