I learnt a number of things, about myself and generally, when I broke my arm. I know it was a while ago but the thing is still hurting and some of the issues are still on my mind.
1. I quite liked the excuse to sit around at home for 6 weeks without being able to rush about the place unless there was someone to chauffeur me about.
2. I’m quite capable of feeling very sorry for myself!
3. I clearly value being able to crochet and use my walking poles – one early morning, about a week after my cast had come off and I still couldn’t do much, Martin found me in tears as I somewhat hysterically cried “What if I can never crochet or use my poles again?”
4. Big Things Matter.
5. Little Things Matter Too.
6. It takes a ridiculously long time to recover from a broken arm when you are middle aged!
7. My family are lovely.
8. It is surprising how much I actually do – there was definitely a lot more stress in the house as everyone tried to take up the slack and my lot are all very helpful and skilled anyway. Actually it was quite pleasing for me to realise that they needed me more than we all realised – sometimes I think I don’t do very much!
9. I could still play cards – although not demons.
10.If you really want to you can overcome the sweltering heat and the scramble down to the beach that you struggle with even with two arms and still attend the cardboard boat regatta!
11. I am quite contrary – usually I am ambivalent about swimming in the sea – this year I was desperate too – although that could have had something to do with the sweltering weather – which leads on to…
12. I love air-conditioning – my happiest day was when we spent the afternoon in the cinema in the air-con – I really didn’t want to go home. I also got Martin to drive a long way home from Chale so I could maximise the time when I felt cool rather than sweaty and sticky and itchy!
13. Having good friends and family really does make all the difference!
I was definitely feeling a bit sorry for myself and unloved when I broke my arm. I was surprised at just how vulnerable I felt. I spend a lot of time doing things, to be suddenly unable to even bake a cake, crochet square, walk with my poles made me feel very strange – these were things that made me who I am – who was I without them? I also found that stress levels rose dramatically in the house. Someone had to cook all the meals, do all the washing, all the washing up, all the cleaning. There was another adult and 2 nearly adults and a big sized child in the house so we could clearly cope but it was hard and everyone took turns having a “moment”. Because we were coping and we were so much better off than many people (lots of capable people in the house) I didn’t feel like I needed help and could ask for it, but I definitely appreciated help.
These were a few of the things that really mattered to me, were appreciated by me and that I’m thankful for (I’m sure there were more but I can’t remember them at this distance) :
One friend gave me a card, a bar of chocolate and a bottle of local apple juice. I felt really touched; this gesture made me feel loved and thought about and like someone realised I needed cheering up.
My sister sent me a lovely package of all sorts of useful and indulgent items as well as coming over to help out.
Friends gave me lifts.
Friends took Jonathan to events.
I had a few meals and some bread rolls given to me.
One friend brought me some food over and then washed up the stuff that was lurking around.
Access to TV shows that we wouldn’t otherwise have had – I watched a ludicrous amount of TV during this time.
And one of the most lovely things was a friend who phoned up to ask if I wanted her to make a birthday cake for Rebekah – which I most certainly did.
I really learnt a lot from this. I often have grand plans about what I’d like to do for people that I don’t have time/money/energy to implement. I realised how much even a small thing was appreciated and that I could do with doing small things for people to show them love and support and actually get round to it rather than imagining the grand things I’d like to do and not actually getting round to them.
I was definitely feeling rather sorry for myself when I broke my arm. The children and Martin were coping but it was definitely stressful for them to pick up the jobs that I tend to do. I honestly think we were all surprised at what a difference it made to our lives – given that the kids help with housework and cook some of the time anyway there still seems to be an amazing amount of stuff that I do – maybe I’m not superfluous to requirements after all!
Within the midst of this stress my sister came down and spent a few days with us to help out.
This was amazing.
She gave Jonathan some much needed attention and some exercise:
Drove me to picnics:
Took Jonathan swimming in the sea – which he had been wanting someone to do with him for ages:
She brought dinners with her (thanks Jonathan!) (which were delicious and gave the girls a break from cooking later on) and cooked and washed up while she was here which was great – particularly for the girls who were sometimes feeling a bit fed up with the on going nature of the cooking, washing and washing up (Jonathan had managed to master the art of fish fingers and waffles though!).
Being willing to be here and to help with Jonathan, the house,the shopping, the garden etc. and to work tirelessly at it (I’m sure there were loads of other things but writing with a few months distance I can’t remember them all) was brilliant for me and as well as being practically wonderful also made me feel very very loved!