Monday, May 17, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

All I Really Need to Know About Parenting, I Learned in My Foot Cast

“How hast thou injured both thyself and us!”—3 Henry VI 1.1.188

It’s Monday, a.k.a. the tenth day I’ve had a cast on my foot. Yes, it’s actually broken, and yes, I did it falling down the stairs in our own home.

The negatives of a foot cast are pretty obvious, as are the positives. At work, I got out of our annual faculty retreat. At home, my husband is now in charge of food, cleaning, and transportation.

Most importantly, being incapacitated has shed light on my real role in the household, which can be best described as “well-dressed house elf.” For those of you familiar with Harry Potter, I’m more like the hostile slave Kreacher than the sycophantic Dobby.

Here are some recent comments from my children:

“You are a Bad Mommy because you fell down the stairs”

“Your broken foot is terrible. Now no one gets my things for me!”

My children have been very sweet and helpful, but sometimes they cannot contain their frustration. They are unnerved that I am lying on the couch instead of scuttling madly from one room to the next, doing my normal retrieving, depositing, exchanging, and adjusting of books, sports equipment, art projects, stray coins, furniture, toys, homework, etc., etc., etc. This morning one of them began to ask for something, then suddenly stopped, realizing the futility of the situation. Then—and this is the amazing thing—this child independently located the object of desire: sidewalk chalk.

Here’s the best thing about having a broken foot: it is a character building experience for my children. As for me, it’s a wake-up call that my dumbest move wasn’t falling down the stairs; it was not taking this tumble years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Once your foot is all better, can I borrow the cast? I figure we could all get this epiphany for our children if we took it in turns to have a "broken foot" for a few weeks at a stretch. This is genius!

    I hope it doesn't hurt too much.