Yesterday morning, my husband fell down a flight of stairs and dislocated his arm.
He’s okay - he went to the hospital by ambulance, and, after a few hours of intense pain were able to massage his shoulder back in.
It was really scary for us having to call 9-1-1… , see him in so much pain… But, he’s home now, he’s safe, and he will heal.
The reverberations of an event like this - especially in a family with small children - is not felt lightly.
Our boys are yelling more - pushing back… pushing each other. And, our daughter - well, she, like dad, has hurt arms and is refusing to both of them.
She clutched them like she had double slings on - last night she couldn’t put pyjamas on because it would hurt to lift her arms. She has needed someone to feed her dinner, and now breakfast. She is asking for someone to carry her down the stairs because she can’t hold the banister.
As our little empath, I don’t doubt she’s feeling her daddy’s pain. I also know that what she’s also looking for is some tender attention - some extra love from the adults in her life to feel safe after the scary thing that happened yesterday.
But here’s the thing - I’m exhausted. I’m stretched. I came into this latest crisis depleted - dealing with COVID, our Reno, the loss of grampa, the challenges of being a business owner with no school for our kids to go through…
I have been able to dig deep and give her lots of tenderness, but, have also lost my patience a few times with her and the boys. I just simply can’t sustain it… there isn’t enough in the tank.
I wonder, in the future, if she’ll remember this event. And, if she will feel is the love we were able to give her, or, the frustration this “I can’t use my arms” time made us feel?
We all have those times from our past - those times where we know our parents didn’t give us what we wanted or needed.
As a parent myself now, I can see how these future-therapy-worthy-conversations go. “They couldn’t figure it out! I was really struggling and they didn’t see me!”
“They KNEW what I needed, why couldn’t they just give it to me?”
And I wonder what I’ll say when finally confronted.
Because the truth - or at least MY truth today - is that I’m doing the best that I can, but, that “best” is likely not good enough for my little peanut.
To BE the best for her, I need a week long vacation, 10 hour sleeps for a little while, daily work-outs, and a break from my businesses…
These are impossibilities right now - so, my best, is simply not going to be enough.
I wonder if, in this future conversation, I’ll have the courage to say “I knew what you needed, but I didn’t have the patience, the energy, the capacity to give it to you. And I’m so so sorry.”
And I wonder if she’ll be able to forgive me.
Mostly, for now, I hope that I’ll find the capacity and the grace to be able to forgive myself.
Kathleen is an anti-bullying specialist, a conflict coach, a teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend...