Thursday, July 23, 2015

Your First (and, God willing, hopefully last) Cast

Dear Em,
We're back. I hadn't planned to take a break from the blog for most of the month of July, but we've been a little busy. Our house is kind of like a bed & breakfast with a revolving door of fun & amazing visitors during the summertime. We celebrated an unexpected & little bit of a crazy Independence Day. Then work got super busy, & I left for an impromptu week-long work trip in Las Vegas. I came home to your kisses & hugs & this...

Yup, that's you getting an X-ray of your broken ankle. Sigh.

Needless to say, I have lots of catching up to do in my letters to you. I'll start with the biggest & most stressful news of this month. You have your first- & (*crossing my fingers*) hopefully last- cast. While you just got your cast a few days ago, the problem actually started on the 4th of July. 

You were flying high on candy & desserts, a lack of sleep, & the sheer happiness of having lots of littles to run around & play with. You sprinted up our cornhole board, & as you did your foot fell in the hole. Your body continued to fly in one direction while your ankle in the hole moved in the opposite direction. 

I didn't see it. Not realizing the extent of what happened to your leg, I turned to you in the aftermath & scolded you for walking ("I wasn't walking, Mom. I was running," you corrected me) on the cornhole board after I've asked you at least 57,000 times not to do so. In hindsight, you had probably just broken your ankle & a better parent would have done a little more consoling before starting an "I told you not to" tirade. 

Being the accident prone but tough little girl you are, you shrugged it off & told us you were fine two minutes after the cornhole incident...bumps & bruises & all. Also in hindsight, letting you jump on the trampoline 20 minutes later was probably a poor parenting choice. Either A. you had already broken your ankle during the cornhole incident & rolling your ankle on the trampoline probably just added to your injury or B. You hadn't yet broken your ankle but the number you did to it on the trampoline sealed the deal. 

Anyway, because I'm a superior parent, our night ended with me screaming "I don't understand why you can't stop whining & just be happy," to my child who I thought was just severely overtired but in reality was suffering from a broken ankle. Sigh.

Your ankle was swollen the next day, but you were able to put some pressure on it. We thought maybe it was just a sprain & decided we would get it looked at if it got any worse. The next week you seemed to be doing fine. You were mostly cooped up inside because of rain, but we went for a walk at the wall & everything seemed to be in working order. I mostly forgot about the whole thing.

I went away for my work trip. Daddy mentioned to me that you had a little limp on the phone one day. In my sleep deprived/work stressed/in a different time-zone state, the limp hardly registered on my radar (I just want to take a moment to interject- As a mom, there are some days I feel like I totally rocked parenting. Most days there are highs & lows. Then there are the days I feel like I totally sucked on all parenting fronts. This whole incident truly falls in the "I suck at everything" bucket. When I think of all the ways I failed you during this time, I am mortified). I told Daddy to watch out for your limp, & when it didn't come up again, I mostly forgot about it.

I returned home from my trip at 1am on Saturday morning & went to a friend's wedding later that afternoon. Most of the time we spent together that day was in my bed with me in a semi-coma state. I showered you with souvenirs & you said nothing about your ankle. 

So, it wasn't until Sunday (more than 2 weeks after you injured your ankle) that I noticed you were walking funny. You looked like you were bow-legged, walking all the way on the side of your foot with a severe limp. I asked you why you were walking like that & you gave me a "what do you mean" look. "Does it hurt?" "No." "Where does it hurt?" "I'm fine."

I made an appointment with your pediatrician the next afternoon. "I'm not injured," you told him as you limped out of the examining room. Laughing at you, he sent us to get X-Rays. While waiting for your X-Rays, you & I sifted through a Highlights magazine. You got the tiniest cut as you turned through the pages. You squeezed the tiny cut until you could see an even tinier amount of blood. I smiled to myself. My tough & fiesty little daughter had likely been walking around on a broken ankle for over two weeks, but a paper cut was going to bring her down.

When your pediatrician got the X-Ray results, he told us it was time to call an orthopedist. After calling 15 of them, I thanked God when we got an appointment the next morning (the first two I called were booked up until August & January respectively). The PA we saw confirmed that you had a small fracture & would need a cast. Luckily, kids heal super fast, & you should only have to wear it for 2 weeks. 

This was when you hit your breaking point. You had suffered through walking on a broken ankle for over two weeks without a complaint, but the clunky cast & ugly black boot were too much for you. The fact that you got a pink, waterproof cast did little to console you. You didn't want them, & you certainly didn't want to be seen in them. "I'm already different enough. I don't want to be different with a cast too," you whimpered about the fear of other kids seeing you in your cast.

My heart was broken. I had scolded you & overlooked your injury. You had suffered in silence for over two weeks. Seeing your disappointment in the cast was too much for me to bear. I was determined to make your cast at least as fashionably painless as possible. On the way home I picked up multicolored sharpies, puffy paints, & rhinestones. You let me be the very first to sign your cast, followed by Daddy, Nonnie, Charlie (we wrote in his name & paw print), & Trey (he sent us his signature & I tried to replicate it as closely as possible). You brightened up a little bit at the sight of the words & pictures on your cast.

When you went to sleep I got to work covering your boot in colorful rainbows, clouds, sunshines, hearts, flowers, polka dots, & xoxos. You woke up super early the next morning, excited to see the results. 

You still don't love your cast. It's clunky & hard to maneuver. It doesn't allow you to rock sparkly heals during dress-up. But you're super tough. You told everyone at story time yesterday that you just twisted your ankle (they responded with "I think you may have done a little more than that") as the kids oooohed & awed over your cast. You're still running & swinging & bouncing...just at a little bit of a slower pace. When we go for our neighborhood walks, we pull you around in the wagon. You & your cast will never be bestbuds, but like most things you're taking it all with fiercness & an adorable smile. 

I'm so sorry that I let you down, little girl. I do hope that you will forgive me, because you can never know how much my heart has broken for you over the past couple days. Lucky for me, your smiles have filled my heart right back up.

I love you so,

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