The Big Break

Well, it has finally happened. Our daughter has suffered her first broken bone. She fell on a trampoline and broke her arm. I assume you wonder why I say “finally” and I can tell you: because she is my daughter and she inherited my gangly, awkward, clumsy genetics. It was only a matter of time. After all, I have managed to fracture my skull sitting in a chair doing nothing.

I have to be honest; I am not a very protective mother. I generally tend to trust that all will be fine and I rarely get upset about things that happen to my daughter. However, this situation rattled me. One of the most upsetting parts about what happened is that I wasn’t there and neither was my husband. I felt terribly guilty that I couldn’t be there for her when one of the most significant events of her short life occurred.

The break happened on a Saturday morning after her very first sleepover at a friend’s house. They went to one of those trampoline/bounce house play places to have a fun morning while my husband and I worked. The mom who was with my daughter allowed the children one last bounce before leaving. That last bounce, as Murphy’s Law would dictate, is the one that led to the break. She reports that she was bounced too hard and fell down. Then, as she describes it, “I heard a big pop.” (Feel free to take a break right here to cringe).

Here is a good place to stop and educate you on my daughter’s extremely high tolerance for pain. I will never forget the day I took her to a well-baby check up and the doctor recoiled in horror after looking in her ears, turned to me with a thinly veiled look of disgust and said, “You realize that your baby has severe infections in both ears, don’t you?” Umm…no, I didn’t. Why? Because she never cried or tugged at her ears or ran a fever. I couldn’t have possibly known.

This is exactly what happened with the mom caring for my daughter at the time of the break. Mom was sure that the arm was hurt somehow, but it was hard to believe that it could be broken because my daughter was so calm about it. She scooped her up and took her back to their house where my daughter happily ate lunch and watched cartoons while petting their kitten with her good hand.  She didn’t cry or complain; she just didn’t want to get off of the couch or move her swollen arm.

The mom spent several hours trying to get a hold of me or my husband. Her arm had been broken for four hours before I finally got to her (enter the mommy guilt). As soon as I saw her arm I was certain that it was broken mostly because I was certain that the only thing that would keep her that still would have to be a broken bone. As I drove her to the hospital she laid in the back seat moaning and telling me that her stomach felt sick. I quietly cried as I drove.

Here is a list of thoughts that went through my head on the drive:

  • “Why did I let my five-year-old have a sleepover? What was I thinking?!”
  • “Why would I agree to let my child go to such a dangerous place? I should have known better!”
  • “How could the mom not have known it was broken?”
  • “Why didn’t she take her to the hospital right away?”
  • “What’s wrong with the people at that place? They should have known something was wrong and helped!”
  • “How are we going to afford this?” (I should mention here that this happened the day before her birthday-fun times!)

I could have very easily allowed myself to get pretty angry about this event and the faults that lay with everyone else that was involved. I could have demanded that the mother or the jump place pay the medical bills. I could have hired a lawyer. I could have gotten on the internet and written ugly reviews. I could have grilled the mom and tried to pinpoint any failures on her part and dangle them in front of her face. I could have done a lot of things.

Here is what I did do. I called the mom when we got home from the hospital to give her an update. I thanked her for taking such good care of my daughter while she was in pain and told her how much I loved the friendship that our daughters had formed. I did not contact the place where the injury occurred to complain, nor did I turn to the internet to complain. And I paid the hospital bills myself.

Although my mommy instincts caused me to feel sad, scared and angry I chose not to act on those feelings. Why? Because anger is unhelpful. I knew that everyone involved did the best they could do with the information and resources that they had. I wanted to continue to have a positive relationship with the mom that was with my daughter because, yes, I will send my daughter there for a sleepover again because I really do believe that she has my daughter’s best interests at heart.

It was also important to me that I model a calm reaction for my daughter. I want her to be a level-headed and thoughtful person. I want her to see that, although she is very important, she is not the center of the universe and her having a broken bone is not the end of the world. It is just a mere bump on this adventure that is our life. If her life were not full of ups and downs, it wouldn’t be much of a life. She must know that hard things happen and we must keep going. My hope is that this life experience has helped her learn this. I also hope that this is the last broken bone, but deep down I know better…


“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson


~ by vegucationmama on December 4, 2011.

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