Home > Uncategorized > Parenting is really a thing

Parenting is really a thing

December 31, 2015

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.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Franky_GTH
    December 31, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Sorry for being off-topic or too intimidating, but that is a fate I share (not only to have three kids) and that could have been avoided when my parents would have gotten informed properly: I had a cast for 4 weeks on my whole left leg when I was 16 due to some patella disluxation. My muscles on this leg never really recovered totally since then. And I have been race cycling in competitions and mountaineering for more than 20 years since. Nowadays such long fixations are completely abandoned from any sensible medical treatment (even my 95 years old granny got back to walking only days after surgery after femoral neck fracture). Just look at world class athletes after (also heavy) injuries. They are put back to physical exercise as fast as possible, that happens usually latest within very few weeks. When I remember correctly, as a rule of thumb 3 weeks is a critical time for irreversible muscle dystrophya. I would do two things immediately: 1. Get your son to intense and well guided exercises by an educated medical therapist specialised on adolescents to compensate as quick as possible for the dystrophya. A few weeks might be enough and he can continue himself. Otherwise he might suffer from imbalance problems for his whole life – bringing lots of orthopaedic problems with it. 2. I suppose you are in the US (I am European) so you could check out if you could sue the person causing this trouble (It seems to me our law and health system in contrast works in a way that suing medical doctors is close to hopeless except in scandalous cases, on the other hand side the average general medical treatment is good and available for anyone without huge differences between different income. This wheelchair story sounds a bit like out of medieval times, sorry).


  2. December 31, 2015 at 9:02 am

    You should read, if you haven’t already, “A leg to stand on”, by Oliver Sacks.


  3. December 31, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Fascinating story… though a bit unsatisfying to still not know exactly what was going on there both physically and psychologically?… the human body and brain are both capable of such incredible things… and swimming is a fantastic activity on multiple levels.
    As to $1500/hr!…. how is that even permissable? disgusting.


  4. Vaag Mosca
    December 31, 2015 at 9:35 am

    awesome story, Cathy!! You are such a good mom. Your final statement that it just gets harder . . . so true. The challenges never go away. There may be days when you long for when the kids were little.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. December 31, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Hurrah for you and your son! Much of this is in the future for me, as my kid is only four, but a wise older friend once advised me that when your kids are little they have lots of problems, but most are easily soluble. When they get older they have many fewer problem (or perhaps just fewer that they’ll tell you about), but they’re much harder too.


  6. December 31, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Thank You for sharing your heartfelt emotions with us. Your story was inspiring.


  7. JV
    December 31, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Cathy I had tears reading this story. Being a mom is truly the most difficult job in the world! I lost faith in the medical community long ago but certainly felt another reinforcement.


  8. Donna Dfini
    December 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Webbs? You really got it pegged….so much conflicting medical advice…not all good. So much pushing of kids not realizing each is an individual with different processes which applies intellectually as well as physically…have gone through that with Ariana and her hip injury at 11 and see Lorena going though it with her three…

    Have enjoyed your various posts, but not commented every time…so now: Thanks and Happy New Year! Donna


  9. elsonidoq
    January 1, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Wow! Amazing story! Thanks a lot for sharing it.
    I’m also a father, only one baby son so far.
    Besides the fact that I’m really glad everything got sorted out, I’m also very touch by your story. I also make very bad decisions under stress that I later regret.

    I wish you the best 2016!


  10. suevanhattum
    January 1, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Yay for swimming! So happy to hear he’s over the hump!


  11. Nadine
    January 6, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Happened to my little guy when he was about the same age – but with a broken elbow – also totally scared after the cast came off – not open to reason (how unreasonable) – finally lots of Physio therapy at his pace & then it was fine after a few months! He’s 12 now and numerous broken limbs later (a boy thing I’m told) he no longer makes such a fuss – must be an age / developmental thing!


  12. dotkaye
    January 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    good for you.. love and support are always worth trying..

    My boys are 18 and 14. I have realized that parenting is utterly beyond me – just get up every morning and do my poor best. Loving kindness and a few guidelines is about all I can give them.

    The younger boy faked a knee/foot injury once, to get out of PE at school (a different and longer story, as to why this was so important to him). It was very convincing, he never forgot to limp and used crutches for weeks. Eventually the specialist sent us to a physical therapist who made him stand on a half-ball and catch soap bubbles. He got so interested in this, forgot his foot/knee was supposed to hurt. It’s a miracle !
    PT had to leave the room, she was laughing so hard..


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