Emma has a softball game today.
For most families who have daughters who play softball, this is a “by the way” kind of statement. For me, these are not simply words in passing; they are words swimming in thankfulness.
May 5, 2011 is a day no one in my home will ever forget. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know what that date means.
If not, then, it is the day that I have often referred to as “The Snap Heard Round the World”. It is the day that Emma, while sliding into home plate during a softball game, broke both her tibia and fibula (the two bones in her lower left leg). It was also the day before her 13th birthday.
It was the day that started us all on a long and lesson-filled 8 month journey.
There were some incredibly difficult moments—moments that broke this mama’s heart into a million pieces. And I’m not going to lie, it was hard not to let those tears spill over, especially given the fact that I cry over Hallmark commercials. Oh, and those Folgers commercials where the kid comes home from the service for Christmas and surprises his family. Yeah, pretty pathetic, I know. Through it all, though, as we mama’s try to do, I worked very hard to stay focused on the blessings, because I had to, for Emma. We prayed, we worked hard to stay positive, to pay attention to all the lessons, and to find the humor in our situation. To thank God.
She endured casting, surgery (2 plates and 17 screws), lots of pain, long bed-ridden days of Criminal Minds marathons, frustration, incisions that would not heal, countless doctor’s visits and months of physical therapy.
All the while, Emma kept saying she wanted to play softball again.
I was leery. I mean, did I really want my baby girl out there again? After all she had endured? But to Emma, I said, Absolutely! You will play again! All the while, trying to suppress that mama’s instinct to protect my baby.
After she was released from her orthopedist and her physical therapist in January of 2012, just on the cusp of spring softball registration, I asked her if she wanted to register. She said she did, but I could sense the hesitation. Would Coach Ricky be coaching her? She asked. Because she only wanted to play for him, someone who would understand her need to ease back into the game. No, Coach Ricky was not going to be coaching, or so we thought. After the registration deadline passed, we learned that Coach Ricky was, in fact, going to coach (long story). But that shipped had sailed. (Now, I see that as divine intervention, because she truly needed more time to be physically ready to play.)
We did go see a couple of games once the spring season started and she did not seem too sad about not playing. Her teammates were glad to see her, as were her coaches. And we spent her “Leg-iversary” (otherwise known as the anniversary of the broken leg) watching a softball game played by her former teammates on the very field on which her accident happened. That’s right, we thumb our noses at you, broken leg! Difficult, but cathartic!
This fall came around and she was ready. Really ready, and off she went.
So today, when I go see my amazing daughter play first base and watch her run the bases, I know what it has taken for her to get to this place. What she has had to overcome. Going back to play this fall took a lot of courage. She has conquered the fears she had about playing again. She worked hard to get back the flexibility and range of motion in her ankle and leg to be able to run again. She is not ready to slide yet—and may never be, but I get that. When I see her play now, I see a more confident ball player. I see a leader. I see a young woman emerging. It is awesome to watch.
When I am watching her play, my heart is so full. I whisper prayers of thanks to God for bringing her (and all of us) through such a difficult time and bringing her to the point where she is today. For the lessons she has learned at such a young age. For her bravery. For her ability to walk today without a limp and to run. For the healing that has taken place not only in her bones, but also in her heart and mind from that traumatic experience. Unless you see her scars, you would never know what happened to her.
Can you be more than thankful about something? If so, that would be me. Thankful for healing and perseverance and facing fears and courage and lessons learned and grace for each day. For getting to the other side.
For Emma. For softball. For today.
“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” ~Alphonse Karr