The hard stuff makes us stronger right? Do you ever wonder how much more you can possibly take?
I had a pretty rough week between the anniversary of my best friend’s suicide, sadness, being overwhelmed with work deadlines and a big fundraising project I’m helping to work on — oh an the daily grind with a 4 1/2 year old at home every day for summer.
So, when Friday rolled around, I decided to a little time to just spend the afternoon with her. We went to lunch and then were going to go for a bike ride. But when I pulled into the park, a black truck followed me in close behind, then parked, right beside me, in a huge long lot. And didn’t get out. Maybe I was paranoid, but I decided to move before proceeding to try to attach my daughter’s tag along which is sort of a process. I got a good look at his red bearded face as I backed out and moved down to the end of the parking lot, pretended to check out the hiking trail instead of the biking trail, then decided, I wasn’t going to let this weirdo ruin our day. So I got the bikes out and started trying to get the tag along attached. Except I couldn’t. I tried several times and became sweaty and frustrated. My daughter was laying in the grass whining. This was not how I envisioned this relaxing nature time. Meanwhile, a man driving his mother around had stopped to ask me a question and I graciously gave him what information I could about another local trail with a friendly smile when inside I was really afraid and fuming. I began to get so upset that as a woman, I feel so afraid to go out biking or hiking because I have a vagina that men want to rape me or kill me or might harm my child (though I’m pretty sure I’d go all Rick Grimes and bite out someone’s throat before I’d let them harm my daughter). Finally, the man in the mysterious big black truck left. Perhaps after seeing I wasn’t going to venture out onto the bike trail after all where we’d be more vulnerable than the parking lot with people coming and going. Then, the man with his mom came back in his car, he said “You look like you’ve been struggling with that for a while, do you need some help?” Defeated, I said, “I think it’s missing a piece or something, I just can’t get it,” sort of trying to excuse him, I had given up. But he got out and took a look and quickly saw an engineering issue I was completely missing as I’d only used it once before and probably in my state of stress was just unable to see the solution, which was clear once presented. Within a few minutes, my daughter and I were cruising along the river, singing and happy, breeze blowing through our hair. Albeit with a tire that was going flat (seriously?!) so we didn’t go too far, but it was just the hour in nature we needed to reset.
The straw the broke the camel’s (clavicle)
After a long week for my only child being stuck at home while mommy worked a couple 12 hour days and some other really long ones, she really wanted to play with some friends. She had been so good all week at entertaining herself. Granted, she had strung out all of kinds of art supplies and toys — everywhere — so the house was a cluttered disaster. But we decided to host a little pizza and croquette Friday night gathering (outside). Some neighbors came over, we were grilling all kinds of delicious pizzas, the kids were playing happily running around our huge property. Our daughter was running down from the barn in her Elsa dress, curls bouncing, when all of the sudden, she just rolled face-forward, heels over head. And when I saw her face, the silence that seemed like forever before the cry let out, I knew it wasn’t good.
We brought her inside, gave her Tylenol and tried to cheer her up with jelly beans, popsicles… her little friends doted by her side as we waited to see how she was doing… But then when I tried to put her pajamas on and could not move her without her screaming in pain, I realized, we needed to go to the ER.
Her collarbone was broken.
We actually went to urgent care first, and while I was there, I had this moment of grace as I was holding my whimpering baby, reading to her in the waiting room, waiting for a doctor in the exam room singing to her… Some mothers and fathers and families have to go through days like this for weeks, months, years. And it dawned on me how important the fundraising project we are working on truly is, to help families feel more comfortable in times of stress in the hospital.
I remember how when she was a baby and would very rarely have a rough night crying, I would sing to her and rock her and think of my dear friend who almost lost her baby when she was born with only 30% of her brain, just a couple weeks after my daughter, and every day was a question of whether she would live or die. I would think of my friend and her struggles and send her love and strength and find grace in my own moment of much smaller magnitude.
Once home from the ER, the next day after a measly few hours of sleep, our usually singing and dancing girl was confined to our bed, in so much pain it caused us tears. As we took turns leaving her side to do household chores just to clean up from the night before, I was doing dishes and missed her singing and coloring in the next room. I would gladly have taken her toys strewn everywhere and clutter over a clean house with her unable to get out of bed and play.
Family and friends have messaged, called and come by, bringing toys and flowers to cheer her up, and that was just the first day. We are grateful for the good care of kind medical staff, nurses, X ray techs and docs. We are a grateful family to be surrounded by such love. We are grateful to know this is only temporary while some deal with much worse for much longer.
It’s times like these… ah my husband loves Foo Fighters…
We will not break under the pressure, we can’t, so we must get stronger. She will come out stronger too. In the meantime, we’ll keep finding grace and gratitude in the moments of true grit.