babying the big girls

While one of my children has never been seriously injured, the other one has been to the emergency room many times. We could talk about the iniquity of it all, but life is just like that: unfair. Our latest visit to the ER was for a nasty radius fracture—the result of a poorly-executed backbend walkover.

X-ray of a broken arm

Does every cloud have a silver lining? This white, broken one did. The sparkly silver inside of the story is that I was given a two-month do-over on my girl’s babyhood, which I rushed through the first time with an eye on the goal line of independence, for me and for the girls. When my kids were very young, I wasn’t one of those moms that relished every cute thing her kid does. I was annoyed most of the time (and still am) about how long it took to get ready to leave the house, the mess, the hassle of taking care of people other than myself. Of constantly being needed. In the tub I dumped water from a big plastic container over their heads while washing hair, just getting it done.

In the past couple of years the girls have both become more independent—getting ready for school by themselves, needing me less. Until the broken arm, I had basically become support staff. Thanks to gymnastics, I got an opportunity to care for my child again. Really care for her, not just make her lunch and help find her shoes. Life had to slow down to accommodate our reduced capacity for doing.

Bath time has become part of our ritual again. I gently wrap her cast in a plastic bag, securing it with the pink gymnastics scrunchy she no longer needs for practice. While washing her hair, I make sure no soap or water splashes on her face. I clean her feet. She has learned to write with her left hand and figured out how to maneuver the cast to dress herself. But I relish the times when she needs me to help her out, knowing that this little blip in time will soon be over.

Next week, my girl will get her cast off. And baseball season will start. And the pace of life will pick up again. I’m going to try to hold on to the slow time, if only fleeting.

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