Hope springs eternal once again… sort of
‘The Marion Mom’ By Dorothy Wilson On the cusp of spring, the trill of distant anticipation is turning into a frenzied thrumming of freedom and adventure. (Or maybe that’s just a train, I don’t know.) Here in the gray doldrums of the bleak and dreary winter, I have already begun the warmer-weather logistics… weaving a schedule of activities, vacations, and camps like an orb-spider weaves a delicate, shimmering web of silk in the garden.
Like the dainty gossamer fluttering with each of nature’s breath, one false move brought the best-laid summer plans crashing down.
She regretted it before the ball hit the ground.
My teenage girls crave independence and intimacy like any normal adolescents, but they don’t chill on the couch with earbuds plugging their minds and music coloring their angsty reality.
My teenage girls play sports with their friends, which I heartily applaud and earnestly encourage in today’s screen-filled climate.
My eldest called me from the field after sundown last week, chortling. “Mom! E. broke Kora. Tee hee hee.”
The laughter downplayed the truth. Two kids lay inside the soccer goal, shooting the breeze and not at all displaying the athletic prowess I had convinced myself they brandished.
E., a wiry boy whose strength lay hidden beneath lanky legs and slender arms, stood at a distance, but not far enough, and pummeled the soccer ball toward the goal with the full power of his toe.
Kora stood as goalie, never taught or trained, but hopeful to impress.
She casually reached her left arm toward the projectile and contacted it with her flimsy hand.
The pain reached her brain moments before she exclaimed, “I think you just broke my arm.” The Fourth Teen replied, “Oh, if you broke it, you’d be crying.”
To silence him, she turned to him with tears streaming down her face.
Incomprehensible, I thought to myself, that a kicked ball from such a distance would actually break a bone.
Perhaps the mound of warm laundry spreading out from the nooks around my knees and over my toes into the dark corners of the living room spoke even louder than my unbelief, as the drive home took less time than folding a load. I calmly requested that the Fourth Teen who was also the Licensed Teen bring them home.
My eldest giggled again, the backdrop of this teenage tragedy somehow tickling her gut.
By the time they arrived, Frostys in hand, the laundry had been sorted and folded, and the concern for my daughter had been tucked neatly into a tidy what-if-but-neverwill box in my brain.
Surely, had her arm really been broken, she would have demanded immediate reprieve.
Surely she would not have allowed a side trip to Wendy’s, no matter the creamy temptation awaiting.
Incomprehensible, I thought again, as we examined the injury and awakened fresh tears upon rotation of the limb.
Weary Wife exchanged a glance with Exhausted Husband. “Do you want to take her or shall I?” I exhaled, a case of the giggles working their way up my gut in spite of the dire outlook.
He checked his watch.
“I don’t think urgent care is open this late, and I’m not going to the emergency room,” his clicking tongue and tenor punctuating his adamant declaration.
An ache bloomed where laughter had just threatened to erupt, an ache for my poor child, who plays through pain, who never cries, helplessly holding her limp, incapacitated limb. But I recognized the wisdom in waiting.
As a former E.R.
nurse, Hubs knew the course of action–even if an x-ray showed a break, they would simply suggest following up with an orthopedic doctor during business hours. The steep cost of emergency care seemed hardly worth it when we had access to a freezer full of ice packs and a large bottle of ibuprofen.
She didn’t sleep well that night. But the next day, which ironically was Mother’s Day (have you seen the movie by the same title? Spoiler alert: they end up in the E.R.), Hubs again suggested waiting until business hours for Campbell Clinic.
I still refused to accept a broken bone as a possibility. But a brief conversation commenced as the implications of the obvious incapacitation began to seep into the logistical masterpiece that is our summer schedule.
Broken arm or not, her obvious agony would prevent her from performing the piano recital on which she had worked so diligently and wonderfully.
Broken arm or not, the palpable pain would surely preclude her participation in the upcoming sand volleyball tournament.
By the time the diagnosis reached my ears the following day, my heart had opened to the possibility that a blocked ball had indeed broken her arm. For that reason, the dismay that followed the words surprised us both.
Her eyes misted with unshed tears.
My heart sunk, the confirmation of spoiled summer plans twisting into my gut like a corkscrew of calamity.
Gone are days in the pool, water an enemy to the cast. Indeed, even showering poses difficulty. Gone are the volleyball tournaments, the piano lessons, the waterpark days, and the elite sports camps, and perhaps even the long-awaited family beach vacation.
But then a whisper of grace dawned in my dismay. A whisper of trust in the One who holds our life and our schedule. A whisper of recognition that true tragedies far outweigh a simple broken bone.
Then it happened.
The acceptance of the inevitable transformed into peace–a peace that passes understanding and creates a soul-rest uncommon to the harried mother of adventurous teenagers.
Proverbs 16:9 sums up my life: “A man’s heart (or in this case, a woman’s heart) plans its way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
The Master of masterpieces has intervened this summer, and we all are happy to rest in a different kind of freedom in His good plans.
Dorothy Wilson lives in Marion with her husband Chris as they enjoy all the adventures life with their seven children brings. Her columns appear monthly in the Marion Ledger, with reprints appearing in the online edition of the Evening Times.