So, my kid broke her leg.
Her Dad and I felt terribly responsible for it at first. We bought and take care of her ski equipment, which caused the fracture — her bindings didn’t release her boots from her skis when she fell. But it goes deeper than that, too: we are her parents. We are supposed to take care of her. And she hurt herself, so by extension we failed in our duty to protect her. I wept when her leg was set, because it was so brutally, physically painful (even with the sedative) and I HAD FAILED TO PREVENT THAT PAIN.
Now a week-and-a-half has passed, and I’ve had time to accept that pain can be — in fact, is — a part of growing up…of life, in fact. And I’ve had time to forgive myself for the din setting on her bindings, the second-hand ski boots, the fact that we took her skiing at all. I’ve learned that kids will get hurt — even sometimes very badly — and what matters is that you are there for them 100% when they do. Which we were.
The Hubster was, as it happens, a ski patroller for a number of years, and he shared a few horror stories with me recently. Not about badly injured kids, but about uncontrollable parents. One girl he remembers bit her tongue very badly when she fell at the resort he used to work at. There was a lot of blood, and the little girl was understandably distressed. The Hubster and his partner (who were the first to arrive) had to call in a backup team – not to help the little girl, but to restrain her mother, who was physically attacking the two patrollers who were trying to administer first aid. Even while being restrained, she was screaming out to the other skiers on the hill and the lift above for help! They were trying to kill her daughter!
Now, I know all about being completely freaked out about your child’s injury. Remember, I was the one who looked in the boot and discovered her leg was broken. It was ugly. My stomach lurched. My head span. I broke out in a sweat and my hands were shaking. I said, "oh yeah. It’s definitely broken." I gave Hubster an imploring look. And I hugged my little girl. I told her that the ski patrol was going to come and help her soon. That everything was okay. That we would be there. That I was right beside her. That I knew it was "owie" and that we would get some medicine soon to help. That she was sooooo brave!
And I also had time for her big sister. To give her a hug, wipe her tears and reassure her that her little sister would be fine. That I was proud of her for being so brave and strong. That I would see her in just a few minutes at the first aid building, and everything would be fine.
I shouldn’t act like a complete hero here. I did turn my head to the side and silently cry while waiting for the ski patrol, once more in the first aid building while her leg was being splinted and again when it was being set. But I didn’t let my children know I was doing it. Because I knew my job was to be strong for their sake. After it was all over, both girls were in bed, and Hubster and I had a moment alone, we just held each other and rocked, spilling our collective sorrow and guilt. We gave each other a safe space for release of those difficult emotions and in doing so, also comforted one another in our solidarity.
So now I look back and feel — I guess regret is the best word for it — that my little one broke her leg. But I don’t feel guilt anymore. And that has freed me up for self-forgiveness which —
and here’s the part where I finally get around to discussing weight loss, the raison d’etre of this blog, after all
— has freed me from the burden of emotional eating. I’d been tied up for nearly two weeks with this emotional roller-coaster, and I was dulling the effects with food. Bad food. And lots of it. But now, for the last few days, I’ve been feeling better. I’ve made really smart, healthy choices and I know that’s helped me not only physically, but emotionally as well.
It’s just this simple: when you feed your body well, your mind will benefit too. It can be so hard to make that first step – to choose a healthy shake for breakfast instead of a cup of black coffee. To choose an apple with almond butter (I had this fave snack three times yesterday!) instead of a bag of chips. To be sure to eat lots of vegetables each and every day. But once you do, it becomes self-perpetuating. The better you eat, the better you feel. The better you feel, the more you want to eat well. Pretty soon you start to look better, too, and that just reinforces the good habits.
It’s great to be back again!