Thursday, April 27, 2017

One Big Girl Felled by Two Little Cracks

Wednesday night's big field trip day ended unexpectedly with Mary breaking her right wrist in two places. She was rollerblading without wrist guards and down she went: let it be a reminder to us all.

The orthopedic surgeon at the children's hospital was called in for a consult but, thank God, Mary did not need surgery to reset the bones: just a cast for three weeks.

Cast at midnight

And now I ponder just how many repercussions there are for something so seemingly small as a broken wrist!

Mary cannot compete in the Guild competition (in two weeks), for which she has been preparing all year. When she first was injured, Chris brought her weeping into the house and Guild was what she was crying about.

How much will she lose (how many songs will she forget) by not practicing any violin or piano for three weeks? We don't take off summers from lessons, we don't take off practice days . . . we take a violin and keyboard with us on vacation so practice continues! (She fractured her left wrist two years ago--click here--but she needed only a wrist brace instead of a cast, and the determined little thing simply took it off every day for practice and never stopped playing her music.)

No violin or piano lessons. No Scottish dance classes. No P.E. classes.

How do I teach her any school when she can't write? I'm teaching other students while she works mostly independently, so I'm not available to sit next to her and be her hands. On a related noted, she and John do some simultaneous lessons together, which I teach and which require her to write, so do I stop teaching John or what? I can't have them get off track from each other and still teach them.

To what degree am I going to have to further cut back on my own activities because I won't have Mary's tremendous help with daily chores (e.g., washing dishes, unloading dishwasher, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, hanging clean laundry) and babysitting Thomas? She can't even dress herself, and I imagine I will have to help her eat. I can only do what I do--and I'm not talking about personal accomplishments, work outside the home, or hobbies, but simply running our home--because I have two Really Good Helpers, and I'm losing one, so the only thing I know is that I'll have to cut back significantly.

How will I occupy her time? She's a reading maniac, but even she won't want to read all day long. I thought of her other passions of sewing, cross-stitching, hand-knitting, climbing trees, riding her bike, writing short stories . . . and she won't be able to do any of them.

The words of Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan (who spent 13 years in prison, 8 of them in solitary confinement) resonate with me right now as I am selfishly frustrated by how Mary "won't be able to do anything!" and how I "will be totally unproductive!" for three weeks.

"Alone in my prison cell, I continued to be tormented by the fact that I was forty-eight years old, in the prime of my life, that I had worked for eight years as a bishop and gained so much pastoral experience and there I was isolated, inactive and far from my people.
"One night, from the depths of my heart I could hear a voice advising me: "Why torment yourself? You must discern between God and the works of God - everything you have done and desire to continue to do, pastoral visits, training seminarians, sisters and members of religious orders, building schools, evangelising non-Christians. All of that is excellent work, the work of God but it is not God! If God wants you to give it all up and put the work into his hands, do it and trust him. God will do the work infinitely better than you; he will entrust the work to others who are more able than you. You have only to choose God and not the works of God!"" (Source here)

God's will in a broken wrist from failing to wear wrist guards? I don't know, but nothing happens without God's permissive will.

I know this is but a small and temporary suffering for all of us. We know of a husband who just lost four of five of his children and his wife in a house fire. We have various friends who have a child who has a chronic illness, a severe disability, or a terminal illness. At our very own parish, a family moved here two weeks prior when the healthy husband died of unexplained illness in the hospital, leaving behind a wife eight months pregnant and one- and three-year-olds.

So, this is small, but real, and I'm sure we'll learn spiritual and pragmatic lessons from it.


  1. This is so tough, your torment. I remember going through the same thought process after I had my knee surgery. But, and this is extremely cliche (but oh so true), this too shall pass, and it will be but a blip in your family's history.

    I remember thinking that my biggest "takeaway," my biggest lesson, my "Okay God, what are you trying to teach me here" moment from my post-op time was that sometimes it's okay to let go. As Type A as I am, and as much as I abhor chaos, there are moments when letting go of control is just something that needs to be done. We regained momentum even after having months of inconsistency.

    Hang in there Mama. And prayers that Mary heals up quickly.

  2. Katherine, I am so sorry that Mary is suffering a broken wrist. I do think she will heal quickly. As for her limitations, the optimist in me believes that at her age, they will be just that: limitations. There may be some things she will have trouble accomplishing perfectly, such as bed making, cooking, and writing. However, there is so much she can still do left handed. She's so young. Learning to write left handed could be quite fun during penmanship lessons. She could do her writing via text to speech on a computer for a few weeks. I am sure she could still empty the dishwasher and even load some things one at a time, and running the vacuum might not be so difficult with her left hand. Think of how strong that side of her body and brain will be at the end of the next 3 weeks! You will have to keep us posted.
    I do hate that she will miss her competition. For someone so accomplished that has to be heartbreaking. Such a sacrifice of something so dear won't go unnoticed when it is offered up, though.
    Hang in there, Katherine. I will be praying.

  3. The little patient looks like she's handling things well-- even with the disappointment of missing Guild. Isn't it funny how quickly the upheaval of life can happen? Prayers for a smooth, boredom free recovery. <3