My 8-year-old daughter returned home from gymnastics practice Tuesday evening. She walked in, and I just knew. Her precious face showed signs that she had been crying. My friend confirmed my observation. She was in pain.
Nothing is more heart-breaking than watching suffering. As I’ve done in several mothering moments prior, I jumped into detective mode (works well as a double-agent, keeps me busy and helps me push aside personal emotions until they can be attended to).
She mentioned a prior practice in which, after a beam dismount, she had a “weird” sensation in her knee. In looking at the painful area, I did not detect any discoloration or swelling. So, we iced it and decided to reassess in the morning.
Knowing the tendencies of this precious child, I attempted to guide her mind by reminding her of the facts we knew. I’ve learned this aides in leading her wandering thoughts away from all the “what-if” destructive games. We iced again and decided we better check it out after school when the urgent care opened. With a plan declared, and pain minimal, she was at peace with heading to school. Sure enough, we headed over directly after school and she hobbled inside as best she could in our mother-duck-to duckling fashion. As she wears her emotions in her expressions, she appeared calm, ready to hear what the source of this pain could possibly be.
After all the beginning steps, we were ushered into a room and the infamous knock was heard, indicating some stranger in a white coat would be walking in. She assessed my daughter, took note of no swelling, no bruising, and her relative tolerance to manipulation of the knee. She explained some possibilities and we sat waiting for the x-ray technician.
In walks the technician, all 4 foot 10 inches of a woman with an Asian heritage. She began to speak. My daughter respectfully gave her eye contact, and after a few instruction, she glanced at me. We both had to stifle our giggles. This woman was too funny for containment! We returned to the original examination room, the door closed, and we literally BURST into outright giggles. I’ll never forget it. It was precious, and so timely. Nothing but divine relief.
As with any visit, we were left to wait. Again. Our moods were light, our thoughts predicting a pat on the back, a note of what to watch for, and a bill thank-you-very-much. And then, the doctor entered. She gave us a bombardment of medical terms, and lost me at hello. I felt myself leaning in to catch every word, and all I remember hearing was… Do you have any questions?
The x-ray showed evidence of some fluid in the area. Because of this, she and another doctor took another look and suspected she may have chipped (fractured) the lower part of her patella (knee cap). She would need an immobilizing brace for a week and would need to be seen by an orthopedic doctor in a week. Yeah.
This, my active, 12-hours-a-week-at-the-gym child who is in mid-season of her Level 5 gymnastics career. I looked at my daughter, deer-in-headlights, holding-back-the-tears expression and said, “You’re thinking about the Buckeye meet aren’t you?” No sounds, just a nod.
What a blow.
My first response – disbelief. My second response – anger.
Really?!! After a year of hard, intense work, many sacrifices, she’s just getting into the swing of the season, and boom – it’s taken away?!! No. Another season that includes an injury?! Is this sport really worth it?! Come. On. Let’s not even start with the financial costs… (insert inner eye roll).
Real Christian-like Heather.
Ahhh, the flesh.
Well, one of may thoughts flitting through my mind in a nano-second each. Bombs. Life.
Not my proudest thoughts, but real thoughts none-the-less.
Then, I had another thought.
These are moments I’ve actually prayed for. The circumstances? Never in a million years, but the opportunities to dredge up the parts of my heart that need refined by life’s fires? Yes.
See, here was the truth of the matter. It came from the heart of my child,
Mom, it happens.
No bitterness. No regret. No anger. No disappointment.
It happened because our Sovereign Lord allowed this into our lives.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Who knows the plans? God does. How many things does he “work” for our good? ALL things.
These are words I know. The question is – Do I believe them? Do I trust them? In all circumstances?
I had to choose just yesterday to say, yes. Though I don’t understand, though I wouldn’t choose them, her Creator and Lord did. I need to trust , especially when I don’t see – the essence of faith.
What has transpired in a short 24 hours?
- I had an interaction with an intake nurse about where I attend church. Yep.
- I’ve had conversations with her coach that never would have taken place, good conversations.
- I’ve had the chance to reach out and make contact with 2 others who have “traveled” this road befor,e and forged yet 2 more deeper relationships – bonding through pain.
- Through facebook, 25 others have reached through the computer screen and written words of prayer and encouragement, read by my daughter’s own eyes.
- Several told me the chances of actually booking an orthopedic therapist appointment in a week where slim to none. After calling first thing this morning, I have an appointment on the calendar exactly one week from diagnosis, at the closest facility to my home! Prayer answered.
- My daughter that battles with thoughts wrapped in anxiety – calm, strong, and obedient in following doctors orders, humble when asked her story.
- I’ve watched my daughter accept, with grace, the plan just laid out for her. In fact, she’s thankful it wasn’t worse and that she’ll miss (hopefully) just 2 meets.
- She laughed at my comment, “Who chips their knee cap, honestly?”
Emma, you’re my hero. You’ve given your Mother strength. Your heart has exhibited beauty and grace beyond your 8 young years. I’m so proud of you. You are a shining example of quiet strength, passionate endurance, and steadfast grace to your family of teammates and coaches alike. Thank you for just being you. You are a precious gift.