Monkey bars are a double-edged sword – they delight children because they’re fun and challenging, yet they seem to unanimously be the greatest source of pain on any play structure. When I was a kid, everything on the playground was old, made of steel and scorching hot in the summer time or frigid icicles in winter. These days they’re more sophisticated, multidirectional, and command a different type of curiosity than they once did. Nonetheless, they have a mystique that draws kids to them. Rain or shine, winter or summer, strong enough or not, kids do them…and not always well.
And she broke her wrist that day…BADLY. The end of her left radius bone fractured and ended up on the other side of her wrist. They had to start a central line to sedate her then manipulate it back into place and her arm ended up in the most giant, hard splint I’ve ever seen. My daughter was a trooper the entire time, with minimal crying and only occasional whimpers. She wanted to feel better and not be in pain, as is typical of children and not always typical of adults.
And it didn’t break her. It didn’t break her mind and it didn’t break her spirit. She put on pretty dresses and was still her lovely self. She sat out during outdoor recess and PE class reading books with a friend. She was forced to miss tap and ballet dance classes to avoid unnecessary stress on her wrist. That was a hard sacrifice for a passionate, artistic little lady. Soon enough, her split became a long hard cast with silver Sharpie signatures from classmates and family. Over time the signatures faded, as did her pain.
And six weeks later the final x-rays told the story – when the cast was cut off with the tiny saw we learned that her wrist bone had phenomenally healed, a bit ahead of schedule. Smiles all around led to a three week soft splint, which led to a happy seven-year-old little girl dancing and running and jumping once again. I couldn’t praise her enough. We couldn’t praise her enough. The sacrifices she made were real and I think even she knew it. Her diligence and patience and heart of gold made me cherish her that much more.
I’ve never had a broken bone. And if I ever do, I can only hope I’ll be able to live like she did.