Thoughts on a Broken Collarbone

This post might be going nowheres fast because it’s the worst possible time of day to write and life is crazy. But I was ready for my post-Easter Stuart Smalley thoughts to be moved on down the page so here we are!

Ethan broke his collarbone yesterday at a soccer game. And I’ll just admit right now I never thought I’d be the mom of the kid who broke a bone during a sporting event. I don’t know if that goes to show anything can happen or things change, but either way, we spent yesterday late-afternoon/early-evening at the Emergency Room with poor Ethan trying so hard not to pass out. That was the scariest part, when the nurse left in search of a wheelchair to bring us back to a room and Ethan was white as a sheeted ghost and I was thinking “oh lordy why didn’t I go to nursing school?” I just feel so helpless in these situations. If I’d have known I’d have five boys, I definitely would have gone the medical route.

Before I launch into how bad it stinks for Ethan to have this broken bone (it’s shaped like a wee-little Swiss alp, I saw it on the x-ray), I need to just get it out how I know in the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal. The entire time we were at the ER I was thinking of people who are there in much worse, horrific situations and I can’t even imagine. There is a boy at our school who got an infection in his brain a few weeks ago and had to have BRAIN SURGERY. Thank the Lord he is on the mend. And of course I thought about Nick, the sweet wonderful boy who our dear friends had to bury recently. Horrible.

So a broken collarbone is such a small cross to bear.

But that didn’t stop me from waking up in the middle of the night and crying, just like that. I handled things great at the soccer field and hospital and then, just like that, it all hit me. Now I’m feeling better so I’m embarrassed to admit these feelings, but I always like to make mention of such things in case you yourself are in a similar position and find yourself feeling emotional. You aren’t crazy. OR, you and I are both crazy. But at least we’re not alone.

Ethan was supposed to get his drivers license today, we had it scheduled with the driving school he used for drivers ed. We had a nice lunch date planned and then we’d head over the take the test. And soccer is out, at least for the next four weeks.

Four weeks. Not too bad. It can be worse.

So Ethan will have his arm in a sling for four weeks, which seems like a cake-walk compared to our one other broken bone experience: Ye Olde Spica. When that happened, I didn’t say too much about how things could be worse. They were fairly horrible.

The only way I can neatly wrap up this post is to say how grateful I am for all my girls on the soccer sidelines yesterday. I felt engulfed in love and help. It was crazy to one minute be on the phone talking to my dad (who was letting the washer-repairman in my house) and then hear someone call to me that Ethan was down. Another player ran into him and that kid was writhing in agony. He ended up having twisted his ankle. But Ethan was just sitting on the ground staring down and I thought he was just taking a knee.

My friend Sarah, who is a nurse, said we needed to go the ER and that was confirmed by my friend Susie (also a nurse). And then Clare said “leave your kids here, we’ll take care of them” and I handed Isabel to Kajse and I looked down to see my friend Vanessa tying my shoes (I had just slipped them back on after getting up from my blanket of game-watching leisure). My friend Vera said she’d get Henry and everyone was covered and off I went, pulling out of the parking lot leaving my five other children in the loving hands of people I know and trust. We were less than two miles from the emergency room and Paul’s office was less than a mile from there in the other direction. He met us right away and it was peaceful and not too long.

When we got home last night, Susie and Co had each sent their oldest daughter (who are cousins, but don’t get overwhelmed by all the connections) who were here with my kids. The girls had fed them dinner and bathed the littles and it was the best possible situation to come home to.

These kinds of events aren’t fun at all. But feeling God’s love in the midst of it certainly helps. I had a flash of real self-pity this morning (of which Ethan has exhibited NONE, what an inspiration) and felt like God was so far away. Then of course I felt embarrassed because my goodness what a lightweight in the Trust in the Lord department. But it also made me realize that when people go through hard times, maybe the best thing to do is just LOVE. I was thinking about my observations of God’s presence in hard times — but it was way easier to pick up on that when I wasn’t the person suffering so profoundly. May we never feel separated from Jesus — and when we do, help it to not last very long.


  1. Wow Rachel, I think you have such a blessed life when I read how everyone stepped in and helped out. Poor Ethan! Maybe God was saving him from a worse accident if he had gotten his license on time. That sounds really negative but I mean it to be comforting!

  2. Aunt Catherine says

    Praying for a fast recovery!

  3. This is just the kind of community I think most people long for – it is so very refreshing to read about how everyone stepped in and helped you as well as Ethan. I hope he feels better quickly and can get that driver’s license as well as get back out on the field!

  4. I’m sorry your kiddo got hurt, but it’s great that you have such a wonderful community! There is nothing like the blessing of friends. I hope Ethan feels better soon and heals quickly!

  5. What a blessing to have such a group of loving family around you. Praying for a quick and easy recovery for you and Ethan.

  6. You’re right, Rachel, it is so very easy to feel God’s love when times are good. When they’re a little less-good, it’s easy to lose sight of Him and His love.

    Peace to you!

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Rach. I also hope Ethan recovers very quickly and gets his license pronto.

    For me, the impressive part about experiences like this one is not so much that these wonderful sisters jumped in to take care of your family, although they truly are wonderful and amazingly kind, always. I have found that most people I know want to help and would do just about anything if they see the need and feel they wouldn’t be intruding or presuming on the relationship. And so many of your “follower-fans” seem just like them that way.

    The amazing part is how comfortable your other five young’uns were with the sudden, dramatic dislocation of their day. You don’t report their being traumatized and apparently you and Paul didn’t have five extra in your bed last night. They have known most of these wonderful women their whole lives and almost assuredly felt loved in that situation, and were comfortable being in their care and in the care of Susie and Co’s daughters.That this is normal for us is so wonderful; it is normal Christian living.

    For me, it has been a much-loved fruit of our relationships and commitment to our shared life: Our children feel (and are) safe and secure even when we get jerked out of the picture for some reason. They live in a huge, wonderful extended family even if not all the relationships are blood.

    But then again, I guess they really are Blood relationships.

  8. So glad he is on the mend.

    I know what you say about community. Last year my daughter suffered a concussion at a basketball game. She went down hard and was on the floor what seemed hours. The other parents and our coach were just awesome in their support.

  9. How wonderful to have so many friends step in to help where needed. I hope he heals fast, I broke my collar bone and I will tell you that it hurt. I first just cracked it and it didn’t feel that bad. I had to wear the figure 8 brace. But when I had it off to shower, when I went to put it on, I broke my bone through. I saw stars and I did pass out. But once they got me back in the brace, the pain wasn’t too bad…at least nothing like when I broke my foot. By now you are thinking my parents should have named me grace instead of Melissa.
    I pray you have a restful Easter season.

  10. I’m typing this on my brief break at home. I’m supposed to be taking a shower but instead I’m enjoying the luxury of fast internet. My youngest is in hospital due to dehydration from a horrible stomach bug. I was thinking some of these thoughts at the hospital – that I didn’t know why the other children on the pediatrics floor were there, and how grateful I am that I know this would pass (and quickly – only 2 days in hospital). At the same time I am trying to let myself have my feelings – it’s hard to have a child with autism sick – and have to make him have an IV because it’s the best thing for him. Mostly I am grateful for my husband (who is at the hospital with our little guy now) and my friends and our pediatrician and just everything, because I have peace and available help in the midst of this little trial.

    I am sorry that your son is having to deal with this, and grateful that you have been covered with prayer, love, and aid.

  11. Broken bones are no fun. Pray it is a quick recovery.