I probably shouldn’t be enjoying your kid-injury stories as much as I have been, but, well, there it is. It’s like the time, years ago, when I accidentally allowed Riley to guzzle from a sippy cup that was absolutely FESTOONED in mold, and when I posted about in in a new-mom panic, people were like, you think that’s bad? My kid ate a moldy dog turd! And I was so, so happy to hear about all the moldy dog turd lunches because it was a welcome reminder that no matter what you do, shit happens. Sometimes it happens in your child’s mouth, even!

Anyway. Dylan appears to be no worse for wear and hasn’t even complained about the brace, which has been surprising. He’s bummed he can’t ride his bike or go to swimming lessons right now, but 10 days isn’t so bad. (I remember cracking my own ankle as a kid right at the beginning of summer, and having to wear a plastic bag over my sweltering cast every time we went to the beach. That was the summer I learned about sponge baths and the genital euphemism of “possible,” as defined by my grandmother: “Wash as far up as possible, as far down as possible, and possible.”)

It’s hard not to feel guilty about Dylan’s injury, or at least question, repeatedly, our possibly ill-conceived decision to build a ramp for him to hurtle over at top speed. I mean, I kind of knew it was just a matter of time until he crashed in a more serious fashion than his usual dramatic but minor tumbles. But then again, he’s been having so much fun, and really, he’s been getting really good at it. Um, except for that one time when he fell and broke his collarbone.

You know what I thought of last night, though, when Dylan woke up around 1 AM, whimpering, and we gave him some ibuprofen and I went back to bed and my brain went GUILTTILTGUILTTILT, is this story I just covered the other day at The Stir about a baby girl who has spinal muscular atrophy and isn’t expected to live past 18 months. Her parents have a blog where they’re documenting her life and keeping a sort of bucket list for her. Some of the items are on the fanciful side—swim with dolphins, that kind of thing—but many are heartbreakingly simple. Moments we take for granted that our children will experience: play dress up, make s’mores, play hide & seek.

Ride a bicycle is on there. Man, I can only imagine that this little girl’s parents would love to deal with the easily-fixed situation of their child cracking a collarbone while joyously riding her bike at top speed.

So: no more guilt. Dylan’s just fine, and he’s raring to get back on his bike, and I’m not going to hover and cluck when he eventually does so. (Well. Not TOO much, anyway.) And if I start fantasizing about sealing him in bubble wrap and slapping a set of training wheels back on, I’m going to remember this quote from Mr. Gonzo himself, Hunter S. Thompson: Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”


43 Responses to “Perspective”

  1. JudithNYC on April 19th, 2012 4:16 pm

    What! I get emails when you post, but I missed the one about Dylan busting his collarbone??!!!

    I am glad that he is doing well and I am glad that you are handling it with as much equanimity as can be expected. Although it’s scary and sad to see our kids hurt, it would be even sadder if we kept them from enjoying their lives.

    You are a great mom with great kids.

  2. Courtney on April 19th, 2012 4:24 pm

    The joy and self-pride that Dylan gets from riding his bike, and jumping off that ramp, is totally worth a broken collarbone as well as the *and possibles* that come along with being an active kid.

    I can’t believe he’s 4 (?) and ballsy enough to jump his bike off a ramp. I’m 29 and still can’t do that!

  3. Shilo on April 19th, 2012 5:00 pm

    Most kids break (or crack) bones. I broke my arm slipping in a puddle at his age. Dylan got to break something while having fun and feeling badass. No so bad, mom. Not so bad.

  4. Donna on April 19th, 2012 5:59 pm

    Damn, the state of collarbone braces has totally improved since I broke mine, seems to me mine was held on with safety pins in a figure 8….and while I had that on, I was running at the lake, and hit a wire between two posts, right at midthigh, and went endo, sat up, started screaming and was just fine. Then I was hit by a van, tore all the ligaments out of my right foot, broke my left leg, my neck, (and didn’t know that one till later), several toes, fingers, ribs, two concussions, (all at different times, not all at once!) and then had surgeries consisting of 2 c sections, a fallopian tube that ruptured and caused my appendix to rupture, 3 d&c’s, gastric bypass surgery, gallbladder surgery, and surgery to fix the broken leg, that left me with 6 screws and a plate. Bruises that would make you wince to look at them, and yet I just passed a step test and lift test to go work ambulance again. At 54, I can lift 78 pounds to my shoulders, and climb stairs with it, my resting heart rate is 76, and went back to 116 after a minute of rest after doing 3 minutes of steps…..I am totally sliding in used up and worn out. And it has been a ride. Dilly is not even going to remember this, lol, promise!

  5. Connie on April 19th, 2012 7:52 pm

    Well, I think he will remember it, but simply won’t care. You HST quote, made me cry. Amen.

  6. Connie on April 19th, 2012 7:53 pm

    In my family, btw, broken bone stories are good for mileage for 50+ years. Consider it a story to tell his children one day.

  7. mosted on April 19th, 2012 8:01 pm

    My 18yr old broke his collarbone(s) on 3 different occasions when he was younger. One side twice, the other once.
    The other one had to go to ER with a penny stuck in his nose…trust me when I say it is the most hilarious story, right up to and through to the point where he swallowed it as doc was trying to get it out and we had to wait 45 mins for Xray to make sure it had passed into the stomach!
    I was beginning to think that at some point I would be hauled in on child abuse charges, we had so many incidents, but that’s boys! They were always so active!!

  8. meanliving on April 19th, 2012 8:06 pm

    That is such a great quote! Given my personality type, I’m more likely to apply it to the wear and tear having kids has done to my body than, say, hard drugs and motorcycle racing, but whatever.

  9. Anonymous on April 20th, 2012 6:21 am

    Kudos to you for giving your boys the space to test (and sometimes break) themselves. Not easy, but important.

  10. Amanda K on April 20th, 2012 6:51 am

    All I can picture is Dylan bragging to his friends or trying to impress a girl when he’s older by saying, “Dude, when I was 4 my parents were so cool that they built me a bike ramp and I was so BAD ASS that I flew off that thing and broke my collar bone.” :)

  11. MuthaTeresa on April 20th, 2012 6:53 am

    So glad everyone’s doing well! I probably would have sat back & smiled had you not included that quote…definitely one of my favorites. It’s all about making it thru with some great stories to tell. ;-)

  12. Kate on April 20th, 2012 7:43 am

    Glad your good with it :) We have been lucky with the kids because we let them do tons of stuff, sometimes they even declare they are ‘doing something dangerous’, but, our cats meet not so great fates being indoor outdoor but we feel they have way better lives hunting mice and risking dogs.

  13. MRW on April 20th, 2012 8:21 am

    Agh! That story made me cry at the office yesterday, will not go there again. Instead I acknowledge that when my oldest was a toddler I found myself saying “be careful” WAY too often and actively made myself stop because I realized kids have to try things and be daring and hurt themselves sometimes even if it occasionally gives me a heart attack. Sigh.

  14. k on April 20th, 2012 9:51 am

    Honestly, Dylan could have just as easily fallen off the jungle gym at the playground and broken his collarbone

  15. Katherine on April 20th, 2012 10:03 am

    All the same, wrist guards wouldn’t be a bad idea given that hands/wrists usually take the brunt of a fall. After that, just put the ramps on a softer surface (grass/dirt) and have him go to town. Could be a future Olympic BMX dude!

  16. Sue on April 20th, 2012 10:34 am

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I needed it today.

  17. sara on April 20th, 2012 1:27 pm

    Love this!

  18. K on April 20th, 2012 4:01 pm

    Thank you for spreading Avery’s story. I have cried so many tears over her, and I don’t even know her. Her story has also put this whole parenting thing into perspective for me.

  19. Melospiza on April 21st, 2012 4:12 pm

    I heartily agree with Hunter S Thompson, even if I need reminders every now and then. So thanks for the reminder.

    Also: really, no need for guilt. Dylan was doing what kids do, he fell, and you got him immediate and appropriate medical care. Unlike some certain parents (notice the red starting to creep up my ears) who, when their son broke his collarbone diving into the sand, DIDN’T FREAKING NOTICE and continued to camp for two more days, only taking him to the hospital when he was still feeling a little ouchy when we got home. LORD. In our defense, he kept saying he felt fine. The plaintiff would like to remind the jury of the photos of the trip, however, in which a sad dangling arm is VISIBLE IN EVERY SINGLE PICTURE.

  20. Junni on April 21st, 2012 11:31 pm

    Totally off-topic, and maybe you already mentioned it somewhere, but I just spotted a Vioguard spot on pg 24 of my May issue of Women’s Health! Pretty awesome.

  21. Shawna on April 22nd, 2012 4:02 am

    Thank you for sharing Avery’s story. As a new mom to an 11wk old, it not only made my heart break, but also reminded me to cherish every second. Thank you again

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