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Break in Schedule   

I have absolutely no time in my schedule for a broken foot

I’ve never broken my foot, that is, until last month, when I suddenly did. First time for everything, right? Well, new experiences tend to teach us new things about ourselves and others. Here I share some highlights of this wild journey of self-discovery I’ve been on this past month.

I Can(not?) Handle This

As a card-carrying member of the Mothership Guild, when I stumbled and fell, my first instinct was to say, “it’s probably just badly bruised” and then hobble off to attempt to continue running my errands for the day. I know Hashem only gives us what we can handle, and there was obviously no way I could handle a broken foot.

Surprise! As I soon found out, not only was I apparently wrong about what I can handle, I also found myself stuck in an Uber, having reached my destination, but unable to put any weight on my right foot. Not wanting to spend the rest of my day hanging out with this Uber driver, I rearranged my life to make a quick stop at the urgent care clinic.

Ringmaster on One Foot

This unexpected predicament presented a next-level scheduling conflict. I have errands to run and appointments to keep and a to-do list that seems to only get longer every day. As we drove home from the orthopedist’s office, I turned to my husband and said, “Here’s the thing. I checked my calendar, and as it turns out, I have absolutely no time in my schedule for a broken foot. Believe it or not, I have zero openings for a stay-off-my-foot month.

“I would love, truly love, to follow the doctor’s orders, but I find it’s just not conducive to my current lifestyle of child-rearing and circus managing.”

But apparently my foot didn’t care about that.

Not Funny

Humor in a doctor’s office is a tricky thing. When I arrived at the urgent care and eased my shoe off, the doctor looked at my foot and said, “Let’s get some images taken, maybe it’s just badly sprained.”

“Really?” I asked, full of hopeful optimism.

“Nah. Absolutely not,” he retorted. “It’s totally broken.”

Well, that was a fun ten-second window of hope.

Next stop was the orthopedist, who told me I’d need to stay off my foot for 3-4 weeks. I broke into slightly maniac laughter at that one. How was I supposed to know the man was serious?

Any other moms of many boys have any tips on how to stay off your feet while making sure your children don’t destroy the house — or each other?

I have absolutely no time in my schedule for a broken foot.

Blind Spot

I only realized how much I clean up when I couldn’t anymore. The discarded sweatshirt in the kitchen, the candy wrapper on the floor, the cereal crumbs that somehow got trailed all over the house, the empty container of yogurt on the table that everyone claims isn’t theirs. I used to take care of all of this on autopilot, cleaning and sweeping while I walked through the house.

As it turns out, now that I can’t do it, there are no other volunteers. It’s been a month of me saying things like: “Does no one see the plastic bag on the living room floor?”

“How can I be the only one who notices the 40 empty plastic cups in the kitchen?”

“Is there a reason why everyone leaves their clothing near the hamper but not in the hamper?”

Can it be that my family simply cannot see anything at all below eye level? Is it a perpetual blind spot that allows them to see the truck they were looking for but not the pack of playing cards haphazardly strewn all around it? Does this mysterious malady affect only my own family or are there previously recorded cases of similar complaints?

I was talking to my friend Ruchelle about this problem, and she told me that she herself once conducted what she called The Tissue Experiment. She left a tissue near the phone one Friday morning and waited to see if anyone in her family would notice it and throw it out. By the time she lit candles on Friday night the tissue was still there, exactly where she left it.

Feeling reassured that I wasn’t alone, but still seeking further commiseration, I did some research.

I came across a woman who had tried a similar experiment with her husband. She placed a sock in the middle of the living room floor and waited to see if her husband would notice it and pick it up.

She soon updated her findings as follows: “My husband just asked me to ‘pass him something next to the sock.’ Not only has he not picked it up, The Sock is now a landmark.”

Vacation, My Foot!

If there’s one thing that makes me grit my teeth, it’s the friends / relatives / acquaintances who tell me to relax and enjoy the time off from running around and to think of it like a vacation. Surely these people mean no harm, and just as surely they have never been on a vacation.

My boys go for joyrides on my scooter and use my crutches as pretend machine guns. When I ask my husband to see if it could be my foot is getting worse instead of better, he suggests that perhaps I need to stay off it more. Not so simple when I have neither crutches nor a scooter.

This temporary life-on-a-couch is many things, but a restful vacation it is not!


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 792)

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