Sunday, November 2, 2014


That is one dramatic post title.

But this post deserves a little drama. 

It was early on a Monday morning. My husband was out of town, four hours north in Virginia. I had to get my daughter, Mary, to her seminary class (an early-morning religious studies class for teenagers) in thirteen minutes. 

When my alarm went off, I got up in body, but not quite in spirit. I was too tired to deal with the lights, so I stumbled around in the dark to get dressed (barely) and get my sandals and my glasses and get out to the car.

I made it down the first set of stairs in our house (which is a split-level) fine. When I reached the next set of stairs—the stairs I now think of as the steps of doom—I went down too quickly. I went down so quickly, I seemed to forget (in the dark) exactly how many steps were on those stairs, and I lurched forward with one more step to go, thinking I was done.


Something snapped on my right leg. I collapsed to the ground and began to scream because the pain was so, so, so, so bad. The kids woke up. Lights went on. I was lying in the entryway of my home screaming for God to help me think and know what to do. Sam wasn't home. No adults were home. I had to go to the hospital, but I was nearly hyperventilating.

My kids were getting more and more upset. My ankle was now twice the size it should be and my foot was no longer connected properly to my leg. Mary called Sam who blearily ordered her to call 911.

"I can't!" she cried. "I'm scared. I don't know what to say."

I will always count it an amazing blessing that I was calm enough (despite my violently trembling body) to not get angry. I asked Lucy to bring me my cell phone and I called 911. In the meantime, Sam called my neighbor who came over to our house to give me a blessing. He also instructed the kids to get me pillows. I remember, in my fog, hearing the kids running around the house shouting, "Get Mom a pillow! She needs a pillow!" I think at some point I shouted, "My foot is hanging off my leg. I don't want anyone to touch me and I don't need a pillow!"

The ambulance arrived. The paramedics seemed a little dismayed by my injury. It was taking them a long time to decide how to get me out of there. I knew I couldn't move in such a state. I would pass out from the pain. They gave me some morphine which stopped the violent shaking but did not ease the pain. So they gave me more.

I managed to get on the stretcher (after seriously banging my head on some furniture) and they took me to the hospital. The ER doctor noticed that my toes were turning purple, meaning the circulation to my foot was poor. With a nurse's help, he pulled my foot as hard as he could, snapping it back into place. It had been dislocated.

Oh, how much better I felt when he was finished! I'm done! I thought. That's it! My ankle had been dislocated. Nothing else is wrong.

I got an x-ray soon after and fully thought the doctor would bring me the good news that I was fine and could go home.

I started to cry when he said I'd broken my tibia clean through and my fibula in two places.

There's no need for further details, but I had surgery last Tuesday, and was incredibly surprised (once the anesthetic wore off) by how much it hurts to have a plate and screws drilled into your bones. I'm so grateful for my mom and my mother-in-law for coming out to help take care of us. I can't drive or put weight on this foot for at least a few more weeks. I've been on the couch for two weeks and I'll be on this couch for several more.

The lessons I've learned have already been great. For one thing, I know that God knows me personally, and he will always, always be with me. I've also learned how much I love my children, and how much I need to really focus on them when I'm home. I don't mean that they need more time from me, but they need more FOCUS.

They need to be listened to and respected for their ideas and insights. They don't need to be told what to do so much as they need a forum to test out their ideas. A safe place where they can learn from mistakes.

I am learning that there is very little direct instruction my kids need both in life and in school. They need examples of awesomeness that inspire them. They need to be free to discuss anything that is confusing or interesting. They need to be creatively motivated, and then they need to know they have an audience excited to hear about their ideas.

Children are not boxes to be placed on a conveyor belt and stamped with all the correct labels. They are individuals that need every opportunity to dig deeper into every aspect of their lives and to have someone there, ready to lend a hand or shine a light or just listen.

When I am not stuck on a couch, right in the middle of my family swirling around me, I want to have that same FOCUS. I want to be that same parent. I want to shut out the voices telling me that my children need to be this or look like that or have these skills or this resume, and listen to my childrens' voices telling me the help they need to grow up into happy, creative, confident, hard-working, mindful people.

When I get off this couch, I hope to be a better person, a better mother and teacher. I hope that more than just my bones won't be quite so broken. 


  1. That sounds sooo painful! I hope your recovery goes well. I am having my 6th baby in the next week or so and I find myself giving orders more and more. This is a great reminder to shut my mouth and open my ears. Thanks!

  2. Oh you poor thing! But what great wisdom this crazy painful experience is giving us! I loved this post. Thanks Lindsay. So glad I popped on here to look for christmas book suggestions.

    love you.