It really did take this long to get back on my feet, although in reality I have been clomping around in my therapeutic sneakers since October. All of those other things, though, they are still under repair – including the bathrooms. The 6 week project is now more like a 6 month project, and we have just recently gotten back the results of the vocational assessment while we wait for other private testing to come back. The rehabilitation, the construction, the October snowstorm, the testing, the college search, the holidays, and the preoccupation with the future have all taken their toll. January is the time to hibernate and ruminate and make sense of it all.
It’s never a good sign when you find yourself trying to decide which part of your body hurts the most. Without providing litany of complaints, suffice to say that a broken foot results in pain everywhere else, too. I now understand all too well my mother’s gratitude at having her feet massaged when she arrived at hospice care – no morphine drip provides the same kind of joyous relief and that which emanates from properly rubbed feet. Turns out that when your feet are happy the rest is sure to follow, and thus the opposite is also true. Chronic pain emanating from the bottom up can make you an emotional wreck.
So when you rearrange the furniture in your daughter’s room, you cry. When the Mother’s Day vase topples and breaks, you cry. When you take that school picture sticker from second grade off the ugly bathroom mirror before they throw it in the dumpster, you cry. When you find you are missing a family dinner far away, you cry. When you move the preschool books to the attic, you cry. And when you drive away from the special education collaborative where you have dropped your boy off for a vocational assessment you cry so hard you can’t breathe.
I don’t have much wisdom to glean from any of this other than I’d better work on healing my feet before they break my heart.
When I said that things were going to change I didn’t mean the next day. I have had countless humbling experiences in my life but breaking my foot is in the top, oh, 100 and moving up the charts fast. A loose sandal strap, an overabundance of enthusiasm at seeing an old friend, and a menacing threshold, and in an instant I am imprisoned in my house full of stairs (how have I not noticed this?) and faced with the prospect of being burden to friends and family for untold weeks. There’s nothing like going up and down stairs on your butt to give you a little perspective, unless it’s sitting on a plastic stool in the shower with your trash bad-clad leg sticking outside of the curtain and then realizing the soap is above and behind you. Naturally, the stereo is up too loud to hope that a call for assistance would be answered but I’m too proud to let anyone see me in such a ridiculous posture anyway. Humbling, indeed.
But I am doggedly determined to see the silver lining (but let the record show there is no such thing as a silver lining of any kind at 6am if there are crutches involved) and thus far there are a few notable glimmers. First, our autistic son is the most empathetic and least likely to engage in emotional blackmail while doing things for me – and every time he passes by, he solicitously taps my big toe and smiles at me. The others, while helpful to a point, roll their eyes and and ask for take-out pizza at every opportunity. I have already collapsed in tears once, declaring that I have raised a passel of self-centered prima donnas, but then again that is the definition of adolescence, pretty much. And just when I think they are doomed to a life lived with the House of Pizza on speed dial, they ask me to guide them through the process of cooking eggs for an after school snack, after which the kitchen still looks clean. So, even though I hate the sound of it, I have a feeling we are all in for a lot of teachable moments.
And, one more beam cuts through the fog – now I have no excuse for not writing.