Last week my little girl broke her leg. It was a really heartbreaking ordeal. Witnessing something so awful happening to my baby was difficult, but it also dragged on long after the cast was on. She has trouble sleeping at night. She cries every time her brother rides his bike and she doesn’t get to. It’s sad and rough.
I’ve always known this would come with the territory of having children. I would consider myself to have been a pretty easy kid, at least compared to many of my peers. Even still, my parents enjoyed their fair share of Hell from me. I fell off my bike and needed stitches. I had a weird few years of swelling around my spleen that had my mom taking me in for CT scans and blood tests and then putting a whole lot of energy into a weird misdiagnosis. I’ll never forget the way my dad’s voice sounded when he ran into my room in the ER and took my hand and told me he didn’t care about the car, just that I was okay.
Ryan broke a wrist and had stitches in his face resulting in the eyebrow scar I find incredibly attractive. His dad came home from work one day to find Ryan standing in the garage with blood pouring down his face because he attempted a skateboard trick and hit the top of his head on the frame around their garage door. He’s had tubes in his ears several times, had his tonsils and adenoids removed, and I once had to tell his mom he was in the ER throwing up blood when we all contracted norovirus from the Duluth children’s museum.
Don’t even get me started on my awful, heart attack-inducing brother. Minor surgery to biopsy his throat. Broken leg. Appendectomy. Broken finger. Concussion. Another concussion. Broken wrist. Broken rib.
I’ve always known this would happen. Three kids = 618 bones. There’s a good chance one will break. There are three mouths full of teeth just begging to be knocked out on the bar of a friend’s trampoline, six ankles ready to be sprained during a friendly basketball game, 30 fingers all set to be slammed in a car door.
I have always known that we would someday be sitting around a fireplace or campfire and telling our grandchildren, “When your daddy was little, he about gave me a heart attack! He was…” or “Your mama scared the pants off me one day. I’ll never forgot rushing to the hospital…”
But I guess I just never really believed it would happen so soon. She’s 20 months old! She’s much too little. It’s just not fair.
I’ve been feeling sad for her, guilty for somehow not preventing it, and miserable for a million other reasons… but I’m trying to be thankful any ways. And you know what? It’s working. It’s actually kind of amazing, how many positive sides to this story I’ve been seeing. I would of course prefer the ultimate positive of not having a baby with a broken leg, but in the meantime I’ll keep practicing gratitude.
It’s only a broken leg. I was initially really frustrated to find out her pediatrician wasn’t on call but the one who was did an awesome job and actually prayed for her bones. Family and friends have been calling, texting, emailing and Facebooking to share their love and remind us that we are not at all alone in this big world. Big Brother has been extremely gentle, despite being only three himself, and has asked so many times, “Is your owie doing okay?” and “Want me to get ya a toy?” Strangers have shown us kindness and helped with anything from holding her up so I could change her out of her wet clothes when she accidentally dumped her water on herself to opening doors to carrying our groceries to lifting up my stroller with me so she wouldn’t have to endure the bumps of a faux cobblestone pathway. Some of our precious family and friends sent her care packages. My sweet moms’ group prayed for her and loaned us toys to keep her busy.
My favorite blessing of all this week has been a glimpse at my little girl’s character. The strength, determination, and resilience that can occasionally frustrate us are shining through so brightly right now and I just could not be more proud of this amazing young lady we are raising. These are the things that will someday make people talk about what an amazing woman she is. These are the things that will bring her true friends and that a very lucky young man will someday fall in love with.
She has a few more weeks in the cast and then she’s supposed to be completely healed and ready to run around again. My perception is forever altered. I’ll probably always see more accidents-waiting-to-happen now… but I’ll most definitely be more aware of the brilliant character qualities God blessed our girl with and I can’t wait to see what else will start coming out now that she’s starting to talk and communicate more.