Tell us how you really feel

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waiting for cast

Today was a hard day. It might be because one of the boys has a fever, a high white-hot fever that is adding to my list of things to worry about. Maybe it’s because we’re leaving for vacation in a few days and I haven’t done Thing One to get ready.

I’m thinking what I’m really struggling with is the cast thing, and the fact that we’re at the halfway point: three weeks down, three weeks to go.

Getting to this point is not really as comforting as I thought it would be.

Truthfully, there’s something overwhelming about that thought. It’s just getting to me. I feel like it has been forever since I’ve seen Henry’s little legs, and today when I finally cleaned out my memory card from the camera (okay, so I have done one thing to get ready for vacation), I saw this picture and I started to cry.

I’d like my little boy back now, please, I said to the picture and the cast and the Lord in heaven. I knew it was silly, because that sweet little boy in the picture is the one I have right here in my front room right now. It is that boy, but not really.

I was putting away some clothes the other day and when I came to the little red coveralls I dress Henry in all the time, I got teary. I’m ready to see you running around in these again, I thought, ready to tie your red shoes and chase after you.

I’ve been joking with people that one nice to thing to come of this is that Henry is always exactly where I left him. When he broke his leg on Mother’s Day, he had entered full-throttle into toddler-hood. He was getting into all kinds of trouble, climbing on everything and disappearing chronically. Now, I put Henry on the floor to play and lo and behold, he is right there when I return two minutes later!

I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m just tired. Things are catching up to me and what I need is perhaps a good night’s sleep (which I’ve been getting) and maybe a largish glass of wine. I would add that I need perspective, but this is what I’m learning: perspective doesn’t take away the sting.

I can tell myself that this is not the worst thing in the world, that people have it worse than this and that I should be praying for those people, the ones whose children are in the hospital for weeks and months. And I do — I pray for them and I offer up this little suffering for so many people — for a baby for my sister, for a healthy delivery for my sister-in-law, for my nephew’s surgery, for continued healing and freedom for a few very dear people in my life.

I do all that, but it isn’t a magic pill to lessen this load. This load still requires a choice by me to take one moment at a time, to put one foot in front of the other and focus on right now instead of next week or two weeks from now. Because that is terribly, terribly overwhelmingly.

I’m tired, y’all, is what I’m saying. I’m just ready for this to be over, and it can’t be. Not yet.

I’ll admit that one of the intentions I offered for the Novena to the Holy Spirit was for a miracle for Henry’s leg. I kept having this thought that we’d go into the ortho clinic (appointment tomorrow) and the doctor would say with much awe and amazement that Henry’s leg had healed and the cast was coming off and then we’d come home and get ready for vacation and voila! Just like we’d been planning all along!

And then my mom gave me a good reality check, which is if Henry’s leg doesn’t heal exactly as it should, this will affect him the rest of his life. It could affect his growth or his ability to run or (even worse) his ability to wrestle his dad and brothers on the living room floor. These few weeks now, said my mom, are worth the time.

I will look back on this in a few months and maybe I’ll laugh. Maybe I’ll smile and tell myself “wow! You survived having your baby boy in a body cast for over a month! Good job and how did you manage?”

Today, I feel weary. 1676″> ,



  1. I could say “Buck up, little camper!” but really I mean: Oh, it’s ok to be sad and weepy and weary, Rach. Hang in there. We’re praying for all of you!

  2. Betty Beguiles says

    I’ll be praying for all of you! I can’t imagine how hard this must be. It sounds like a lot and I suspect your post only touched the tip of the iceberg. Of course, you’re tired. Hang in there, and be patient with and kind to yourself.

  3. Heather Viz says

    I’m with you on the weary part. Only my weariness comes from the little boy inside of me climbing my ribcage, and making my backside look like a road map. If it helps, I have 7 weeks left until this baby makes an appearance. Henry will be well into running mode by that point I am sure. In the mean time I will offer up prayers for you, and know that all of your friends understand what you are going through – in spirit anyway. love and hugs, and I have WINE to share,
    Heather V.

  4. Anonymous says

    Good for you to admit that you are struggling. Wouldn’t you much rather that your child come to you and say, “mom, I am having a hard time..I am tired and trying my best, but today, mom, I just am tired” rather than dig her heels in the ground and act poorly. Good for you for admitting it, and trying tomorrow. Rach, you are doing great. We are all so proud of you.

  5. Amy Parris says

    You’re right that it’s hard. You’re right that it’s long. You’re right that it’s sad. You have every right to be tired, overwhelmed, and impatient. You’re right that having perspective doesn’t help much some days.

    Good for you for taking it to prayer. Good for you for taking it one day, one moment at a time. Good for you for slowing down a little and even enjoying it…sometimes.

    I’ll beef up the prayers and then I’ll call you to see how I can help!

  6. My heart aches seeing that picture of Henry gazing at the dog on the other side of the window. Offering prayers for the day when they'll be running around together again.

  7. Allison Kennedy says

    Rach, good to chat the past couple of days. … Try and give yourself permission to be tired, weary, sad. … as a wise friend once asked, "Who says we have to be strong all the time?"

  8. "I would add that I need perspective, but this is what I'm learning: perspective doesn't take away the sting."

    Thank you for these words. One or even two of my sons have health issues I wish they didn't have to deal with, and every trip we make to Children's Hospital, I count my blessings for all of the conditions my children do NOT have. However, it doesn't diminish the fact that my child is in pain, that no matter how often I think we're done with visits to Children's Hospital, we still end up going back. Perspective, yes, but sad and frustrating, well, yes to that, too.

  9. Grandma Elaine says

    He looks happy. You must be doing things right! Keeping him clean, healthy, well fed, and entertained would be wearing, but he looks good!!!

  10. Anonymous says

    My second child was born with a defect in her digestive system that went undiagnosed for 9 months. She ended up having life saving surgery a few days after her 1st birthday. She turned 10 recently. She was in the 5% that recovered fully – no colostomy bag, just a normal kid.

    I remember how hard that time was. I really felt I was seeing Jesus' passion in her small body during those awful months.

    It was terrifying and horrible and I still shudder when I look back at it. But. God used the suffering of my dear sweet baby. There was a grace that was given that changed me. I find it hard to articulate, but I can say this, God giving up his Son, letting his Son suffer like that, means a great deal more to me now.

  11. Man, that's got to stink! My little guy is a couple of weeks younger than yours, and I think of you every now and again when I watch my Will climbing and running (and attacking his sister). There are so many times when it all just gets to me — stress from food issues, pregnancy, the kids being kids, and even when I put it all into perspective, I just want to yell, "but this still sucks!" Okay, sometimes I do. Have a glass of wine, get some sleep, and start over tomorrow. You'll be one day closer to having your little guy running to see you!

  12. God gives us the suffering that he wants us to have and right now this is yours. There's a temptation to look at your suffering in comparison to everyone elses suffering (to make yourself feel better because you're in a better position, etc.)but that just distracts from the lesson that God's teaching you in your moment, in your suffering. Sorry to sound preachy – that's just a reflection from my journal that I preaching to myself during a hard time a couple years ago.
    P.S. Your and Henry's situation breaks my heart. My husband and I are praying for you, I can't imagine!

  13. I wish I has some magic words or pearls of wisdom to make it easier but I don't. I will however pray for you.

  14. We've been checking in on you daily, and I remember this part – half way there, but not more than half way done. It's SO HARD! I remember hearing the "I'm stuck," response, and crying over pictures of our son walking/running, and then crying over spica pictures too. You're being tremendously strong; you're Mom is so right – stay strong now for happy running legs later. Please let us know if you need anything; us spica Moms have to stick together! Amy N.

  15. Ecce Quam Bonam says

    Dear Rachel,

    I remember quite well the hard stuff from the first 7 months of having Miss A home, after 11 weeks of the NICU. No more than 2 hours of sleep at a time, pumping in the middle of the night, scared of giving the wrong med or the wrong dose while half asleep, and on and on.

    You won't look back and laugh, but you will look back with satisfaction that you did what your son needed you to do, no matter how hard it was, because you love him more than you love your own life.

    Who can say why you need to be able to endure something like this with strength. Maybe it's for nothing more than old age, but you obviously are developing some important muscles this spring.

    Nothing is wasted. It's all important, and it all builds something unspeakably wonderful and eternal between us and our beloved children.

    Would Miss A be who she is had she not gone through such a rough start? Or if I hadn't gone through it and been changed by it as well?

    This will have its effect on Henry, and by his grace and wisdom, the Almighty knew exactly the right mom to help him go through it. Your example of being faithful while still being honestly human will be invaluable to all your boys.

    God bless you all, and have a wonderful vacation.

  16. Sounds like you're needing prayers more than Henry today!! I think the frustration of not being able to change the situation, or make it move faster is the soul-wearying (is that even a word?!) part. I love the image of Henry staying right where you leave him – treasure that a little bit, as a bonus for the weeks of spica – I remember well a post you wrote a couple of months ago about not wanting to accept that Henry was officially a toddler. Maybe in the midst of this heartache, God gives you a little bonus of Henry being dependent on you a little longer and having these moments of quiet time with him before he takes off running again. Keep your chin up – we're all praying hard for both of you!!

  17. Oh Rachel, my heart just aches for you! My older daughter is just 2 weeks older than Henry, I think, and similar antics from the way you describe him. I look at those pics and I want to give you a huge hug… and share that bottle of wine. 🙂 Know that I am praying for you so hard today – offering up our minor illnesses and sleep loss for your heaviness of heart.

    I want to affirm what the commenter who said you must be doing a great job because he looks so happy in the pictures. That, dear Rachel, is a super-mom feat. Graces must be flooding over your weary head, and Henry knows how much he is loved. That's ultimately what matters, right? God Bless your beautiful, active, growing-in-holiness-and-fortitude family!

  18. Franchelle says

    Oh Rachel, my heart has been with you as I've read these past few weeks of posts ala Henry. Our eldest son broke his leg when he was 2 years old and it was one of the most difficult times in my life–espeically as I had a nursing baby at the time!

    I'm sure you will smile and congratulate yourself on having survived this–wine is a good congratulatory gift! 😉 BUT, if I may offer some advice, lay off the video camera. I don't know why. . .perhaps post-partum brain drain, perhaps it was the newness of our first digital video camera, but I did a lot of archiving of those miserable weeks and 6 years later, I still sob watching my sweet baby boy in his cast. Trust me on this one.

    Happy healing and wholeness for Henry!

  19. I'm sorry. I don't have much to offer you other than prayers, but you can be assured of those. May God bless you and your family.

  20. Anonymous says

    My daughter broke her femur five years ago. She was 7. She was in a spika cast for 2 weeks, when I brought her in for a check up, her doctor wasn't happy with the way the leg was set and the next thing I knew, we were back in the hospital for a 3 hr surgery to put "pins" (external fixator) on her leg. That prolonged her recovery for another 8 weeks. Here's my advice to you: please do not worry about what Henry will be like in two years or two months. My daughter's healthy leg is 1.5 inches longer than her "broken" one. She has huge coin like scars on her thigh. She plays basketball, lacrosse, takes ballet 2x per week and plays soccer. The doctors told me that there was nothing we could do about the discrepency until she was in high school. So I just made a pact with myself that I wouldn't think about it until then. I know how hard it is, I didn't "feel" like a mother ( I had four kids at the time) until this happened to us. Take it easy, have an extra glass of wine. It will all work out.

  21. My heart goes out to you guys. It really is an amazing task to overcome. I think you are doing a great job guiding your family through this. Hang in there. Someday it will seem like a tiny blip in the radar of your lives. You will be so much stronger having been through this. One day, hour, moment at a time.

  22. Anonymous says

    Dear Rachel, After reading all of the comments, I am hoping you don't drink as much wine as has been suggested! Just kidding! I am praying for you. I remember going to the doctor after having my left arm in a cast for 4 weeks thinking he'd say we could get rid of it—and he didn't. He didn't even know where I ever got the idea it would be a shorter time. I agree with all of the "posters" who remarked at how happy Henry looks. It is probably easier for him to accept this than it is for you. Having said all that, I just know it is very hard for you. Love, Sue