Just over a week ago we got that dreaded call, the one where your child’s school phones to say there has been an accident. “Come immediately,” they said, “we think your son has broken his collar-bone.”
A trip to A&E proved them to be right. The x-ray showed a clean break just by his shoulder joint. D would have to spend the next few weeks with his arm in a sling. He arrived home subdued and pale dosed up on pain killers.
It turned out that the breakage was a result of a few of the boys “playing” rough during break time. D called the game “benching” and, although he explained it to me, I still can’t quite get to terms with exactly how it works. All I know is it involves a lot of pushing and shoving and knocking each other to the ground. From a female perspective, I just don’t get it, but all the men I’ve discussed it with, including my OH, grin in acknowledgement. That’s the way boys play.
I’d like to say this was my first experience in A&E but it wasn’t. Having four children opens you up to a whole world of accidents, incidents, and injuries. We’ve had broken teeth, splintered arms, banged heads, sliced legs, and even a bout of lyme disease. I’ve had the pleasure of a few nights “sleeping” in a cot bed on the Paeds ward but luckily it’s never been for anything life threatening. (And believe me, I totally get that I am very lucky in this regard.)
I remember talking to a friend who was pregnant a while back and she was talking about all the worry you take on during those nine months. I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “get use to it, this is just the beginning”. The thing about having children is that it suddenly makes you vulnerable in a way you could never anticipate. Would you have them at all if you know how desperate it could make you feel at times?
My first big scare as a mum was at his birth. I had D at home but unfortunately within about an hour he had trouble breathing and we ended up in an ambulance. He spent his first few days of life in an ICU and I walked up and down the corridors of that maternity unit countless times just to be with him. He was fine in the end and they never knew what caused it but the experience really shook me and I was depressed for months afterwards.
The more things that have happened, the more detached I have become. I am not completely aware of my feelings until much later on when talking about it chokes me up or I feel weary and low a while later for no particular reason. When my daughter E cut her leg open to the bone two years ago, I literally “transported” myself from the room and although there was a flurry of activity around me I couldn’t actually see or hear any of it coherently. I think I really just wanted to scream but in recognising that was slightly inappropriate I simply turned my “emotional” self off.
Now that my eldest is 17 and eligible for driving, I have awaken to a new fear. The image of her behind a wheel, with friends as passengers, laughing, talking, changing the music on their iPods, texting all while trying to drive…..well you get the point. Terrifying right? I can’t bear that I will have gotten her this far through life only to lose her in a tragic and very avoidable traffic accident. It happens all the time. I also know that these fears have to be pushed back, that driving is a rite of passage and one she will eventually experience no matter what I say or do.
So I’ve learned to say “what will be, will be” quite a lot now. When D was in the ICU there was a bible in the drawer by my hospital bed. I was terrified that he was going to die and not knowing where to turn or how to allay my fears I opened it. It was one of those goose pimply moments when my eyes went directly to this quote “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I have turned to those words a lot over the years as a way of safeguarding myself against all the unknown possibilities that might happen sometime in the future.
D is doing much better after only a ten days. We were camping at the weekend and he managed to join in as much as his affliction would let him. One consequence of all of this – he has been unable to take part in his usual “gaming” activities (computer, play station, etc) and has instead taken an avid interest in the FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon. He’s checking scores, charting the wins and losses, reading up on the players, analysing the mechanics of the different matches, and keen to share his knowledge with any who will listen.
So with every cloud, right?
In honour of my gorgeous highly resilient boy and his recent love of all things “ball” related (and also to take the edge off a rather serious post), I have included below a recipe for Cake Balls (try saying that without giggling, I dare you). The amazing thing about them is they look and taste like truffles but are made from cake. They are so easy and quick to do and incredibly delicious. Perfect for any of you “anti-bakers” out there.
1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix
1 (16 ounce) container prepared cake frosting
6 ounces of chocolate (white chocolate, dark or milk)
Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. When cake is done allow to cool completely. Crumble the cake into a large bowl using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the frosting and mix until combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Line a baking tray with wax or parchment paper.
Using a scooper, if you have one, or just your hands, form 1 inch balls with the crumbled cake mix. Place on the baking tray. You should get about 36 balls depending on size. Once you have used all of the cake mixture, place the tray in the freezer for 1 hour.
Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl of the microwave, stirring every 5-10 seconds until smooth.
Remove the balls from the freezer. Using a toothpick, pick up the balls one at a time and dip in the chocolate. Use a second toothpick to slide the ball off the first toothpick onto the wax paper lined baking tray.
NB : If the balls fall off the toothpick into the chocolate, they are not firm enough to work with and you’ll need to place them back in the freezer for additional time.
Once you have covered all the balls in the chocolate place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating is set. If you want to decorate the balls with sprinkles of any kind (as I have done) you need to do this before putting them back in the fridge. However, if you want to drizzle other chocolate on the balls for decoration, do that after they come out.
You can make these balls using homemade cake if you are particularly offended by the idea of mixes. That is entirely up to you!
This post was written for week 17 of The Gallery and for the Writing Workshop. Josie and Tara have joined “forces” and asked participants to write a post and include a photograph that covers the topic of emotion. I think you can safely say my chosen emotion is worry!