Parenting is really a thing
I’d been skating along with the parenting thing for quite a while. I have three sons, the oldest of whom is 15 and the youngest 7. It’s been a blizzard of pancakes and lost teeth, and almost nothing has really fazed me.
Until about 3 months ago, when my little guy broke his leg. The pain was excruciating, and traumatic for both him and anyone near him, even after his cast was set. He was in a wheelchair for 7 weeks all told, which was probably too long, but we had conflicting advice and went with what we were told by the doctor.
Then, finally, the cast came off three weeks ago. I thought this episode was finally over. But my son refused to walk.
It was more important for him to go to school than anything, so back he went into his wheelchair for the next few days. I figured he’d get back to walking over the weekend. He didn’t. The doctor who took off the cast had dismissed his fear, saying he’d be walking “by the afternoon.” Another doctor told us there was “nothing physically wrong with him.” But after a week of begging him to try, and threatening to take away his computer, we were all a mess.
Then, when my husband was out of town, I got even more anxious. I made the mistake of taking him to see a pediatrician who I don’t trust, but it was right before Christmas and I was desperate. Mistake. The guy told me he had “hysterical paralysis” and gave me the number of a psychiatrist who charges $1500 per hour and doesn’t take insurance.
Luckily, friends of mine suggested physical therapy. I found an amazing pediatric physical therapist who came to our house and convinced him to try stepping while leaning on the table for support. Then came days and days of grueling and stressful practice. We didn’t see much progress, but at least it was some exercise.
Finally, I decided it was all too intense and stressful. I drove him and me to a hotel near my favorite yarn store in Massachusetts – a yearly tradition but it’s usually the whole family – and we just went swimming for hours and hours in the hotel pool. I could see how joyous he became in the water, where there was no sense of gravity and he was once again fully able-bodied. I had to drag him out of the pool every time. I think he would have slept in it if I’d let him.
Yesterday morning we checked out of the hotel. We had stopped talking days before about when he’d start walking, we’d just enjoyed each other’s company and snuggled every chance we got. On the way out of the elevator and on to the check-out desk, my son said to me, “I’m just going to walk now.” And he did.
So, parenting is really a thing. The hardest part has been learning to trust my kids to get through difficult things even when I can’t help them directly. I knew that about homework already, but from now on I guess it just gets bigger and harder.