The Worst Saturday Night, Ever. So Far.


I think that when we see people get hurt it affects us partly because we are vulnerable, it could happen to us, and that is part of our horror. That feeling is amplified by, oh I dunno about a zillion, when we think of our children getting hurt.  So on Saturday night, when Roan missed his footing on the stepstool in our kitchen and my reach didn’t break his fall and he hit the floor backwards I closed my eyes before I looked at him, and I knew somehow – I didn’t want to see.  So I grabbed him close and said, “It’s ok”.  I think I said it as an instruction to myself rather than a comfort to my son.  And when I saw the contortion of his little left arm, then met the horrified eyes of my husband, I knew it was time to be strong and cool and leave my own freak-out until later.  Roan’s arm was clearly broken, and I didn’t have a plan.


The best I  could do was, “Anson, go grab a cab.  We’ll take it to the ER.  No wait, should we call 911?  No go get the taxi.  No, should we call Kara or Lola for a ride? They’ll get here quickly.  No just get a cab.  Yes, taxi.  Now.”


Only in Brooklyn.  Or Maybe Manhattan.  OK, Maybe any Metropolitan Area.

Just an aside about Anson: he is strong and smart and the most capable person I’ve ever met at the widest assortment of things.  But he doesn’t really function so well under intense crisis type pressure (he almost fainted at our wedding.  That was sort of like a crisis.  Made me love him more, though.)  So while he was out I wondered if he would make it back, or be lying in a heap on the sidewalk.  Roan only cried, and mildly so, for about 3 minutes, and just started asking questions, like why is Dad getting a cab?  Where are we going?  I told him we had to take him to the hospital to fix his arm, because it really needed some help.  His eyes brightened, and he said, “Help like I’ll need a cast?”  I told him for sure he would, and he was calm and waited for me to get my shoes on.


Anson returned and had triumphed in a magnificent way.  He did not hail a taxi.  No, he flagged down an ambulance and brought them to our front door.  I grew brand new confidence in that man right then.  We got to the hospital, and Roan was definitely in shock as he had sort of shut down, but he could answer questions, and was as calm as could be.  He mostly complained about the ice pack the paramedics had put on his arm because it was cold. 


No Cell Phone Usage Allowed

When my boys went into the X-Ray room I sort of had my own special break down.  I couldn’t be with them because I’m pregnant.  Being alone and knowing that this process was going to be very painful for Roan – moving the arm around in different positions to get all the angles – I couldn’t stand not being in there with him.  So I started texting my family (ignoring all the signs that said not to use cell phones), and when there was more and more and more time passing I posted my situation on Facebook which at the time I felt kind of dumb about doing but I just needed to have some community around me.  And you know – it worked.  I started getting loads of texts and comments and support from my people.  And that helped because I could hear my boy whimpering in the room next door for over ½ hour and I thought I would die not being next to him.


Sometimes Rainbows Are Not All That Beautiful.
The X-rays showed that Roan had broken both his radius and ulna in the forearm.
  The doctor said it was the kind of break they’d need to anesthetize him to set.  Since Roan had just eaten, he also said they’d have to wait at least two hours before they did that.  So we were looking at the entire night, in the ER.  Roan and I started watching Tom and Jerry on my iPhone.  He wasn’t complaining, and I was trying to not look at his arm, bent like a rainbow.  He had received no pain medication, but was just chilling and enjoying some Looney Tunes.  I was a proud and sad mama.

Making the World Small

Another doctor showed up on the scene and said that since he seemed to be tolerating the pain so well, she thought she could set it just by injecting a local anesthetic into the arm where it was broken.  The idea of that totally threw me – I mean, I didn’t want him to feel that.  But I also knew he’d probably feel better if he didn’t have to be put under.  So we agreed, and I put my forehead on his, and cupped my hands over our eyes, trying to make our world together really small as she put a giant needle into his arm, where it was broken.  He cried in pain and all I could do was kiss his eyeballs, forehead, and cheeks telling him all about the homemade ice cream we’d eat when we got home.  In my life, I’ve never wanted to take pain away from someone so desperately.  But true to form, he
bounced back within a few minutes, and as the doctor began to set his arm, my friend Lola showed up, with a blanket for the boy, a sweater for me, and the calmest sweetest smiles that lifted everyone up.
  Her husband was waiting outside, to give us all a ride home.



We got home and set up a Family Slumber Party in the living room.  We ate ice cream and started to watch a movie but Roan fell asleep within minutes.  I don’t think I slept at all, as I kept waking up to make sure he was ok.  Anson was in the same boat as me.  We wondered to each other how we had been so traumatized by this event – a boy breaking his arm.  It’s a right of passage, a common childhood occurrence, and one that we’ve both been through in our own younger days.  But it was really intense to watch Roan have to go through it, and to shine so brightly as he did.  I wouldn’t have been less proud had he wailed like a maniac the whole time, but his peaceful demeanor and willingness to get through it gave me my own sense of peace.

So now, with his friends and cousins digging into their own hard-earned money in their piggy banks to buy him presents (Wii games that he can play one-handed), and with cards and designs and flowers and pictures being gifted to him, Roan feels less encumbered and more like a rock star.  He is proud of his new ideas and ways he’s finding to do things one-handed.  He hasn’t complained even once about pain, or anything else for that matter.  He sat and watched me teach kickboxing yesterday, and waited until after class to kick at the bag a little, and do some wicked crosses, as his jab is currently unavailable.  I’m finally beginning to feel a little more normal, no longer on high alert. 

So this is what it is to be a parent, huh?  This is some scary stuff. 


33 responses to “The Worst Saturday Night, Ever. So Far.

  1. Wow! He is one tough kid! How scary that must have been for all of you!

  2. God what an awful time. I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been. Even if it is a common occurance, it isn’t common for you. So, I don’t blame you for being shaken up by it. I freak out around scraped knees. Quick recovery to Roan!

  3. Poor Roan! He sounds like a superhero though, what a brave kid. I’ve seen quite a few kids break wrists at my work (artificial ski slope) and none are every that brave.You did good too! And congrats on your pregnancy, looking forward to hearing all about it over the coming months.

  4. this isn’t going to stop you from the trip to CO is it? that’s pretty much the thing the girls are looking forward to as their #1 summer event.yes, eventually, everything is about me.

  5. eeeeeek! glad everyone came out of it OK…i know that had to be terrifying for you!

  6. Wow. Superhero Roan! (Aside – would you please phonetically ‘splain – is it ROW-un, or RONE? I go back and forth in my head!) Isn’t the kid-enthusiasm for casts so cool? Totally mitigates the pain and inconvenience. Way to be a bright star! (All of you!)

  7. Melissa: oh yeh you know – he’s way more tough than Anson and me put together. Sad, but true.

  8. Thanks Em. Truthfully I get a little squeamish around scrapes as well. They hurt way too much for how innocent they look. At least with a break in a bone the image fits the pain. Not good.

  9. Wow! Roan was amazingly brave! I’m so impressed! And you handled things beautifully. I can only imagine what it must have been like for a parent to want so badly to take the pain away from her child.Really good job! And speed in healing to Roan!

  10. Holly: That’s funny because not too long ago Roan was at this skateboarding event where a teenager broke his wrist. This kid screamed at full throttle for about 20 minutes. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have. But it was interesting when that occured to Roan, while he was just sitting on the floor waiting for me to find my shoes and he said, kind of to himself, “I’m not screaming.” No kidding.

  11. Elden –  No way are we cancelling. We’re trying to schedule Roan getting his smaller cast on just before we leave, so maybe he can be a little more mobile. So glad the girls are looking forward to it – so are we. If it weren’t about you, who would it be about? Of course it is about you. Duh.

  12. falnfenix: You know the worst part – the image of Roan looking at me right after I registered the break. He looked pretty terrified right then. I must have had the worst face in the world. Thankfully there is not a picture of that moment. I’m going to have to bury it deep…

  13. Gillian –  Ha – great question. It is ROW-an. I remember really wanting a cast back in elementary school – trying kind of halfheartedly to break my bones, but never getting close. Until I was old enough to not want it anymore. Then, of course, broke my arm.

  14. EEP. I think I probably would have had the same reaction you did- begin to freak, realize I’m needed, calm down, help out… Freak later :)You did a great job, and Roan sounds like a trooper! What a brave kiddo you have. I hope I am not in that boat anytime soon… Scary, scary.

  15. How nerve wracking! I hope Roan and you and Anson are feeling better!

  16. My heart goes out to you. I know how insanely difficult it is to watch your child go through a painful ordeal. You are not alone in those feelings of fear and helplessness.When my son was first suspected of having a tumor, he needed a biopsy to confirm it was cancer. His tumors were so big he couldn’t safely be anesthetized. I held his hand while a HUGE core sample needle was plunged into his neck over 20 times. It was beyond terrifying. He was begging me to save him and I could do NOTHING but hold him still, gaze into his eyes reassuringly and tell him I loved him. It was at that point that I realized my helplessness to protect him from the big scary things in life- like death and pain. I also realized that he had a whole host of otherworldly beings that were escorting him through his ordeals. I was no longer looking at my 9 year-old little guy, but a timeless being bathed in blue-white light. He was taken over by what I can only describe as an angel. (Up to this point I was quite the cynic when it came to these notions of divine intervention) But I saw what I saw, and that same presence was there for him at his earthly departure. Great comfort in an otherwise unthinkably painful event. Needless to say, after the ordeal I went out to the hospital rooftop and cried my guts out. We are so small, fragile and at the mercy of a sometimes cruel and unforgiving universe….But what we (I) seem to forget is that we have loads of help if we accept it. We also have amazing resiliency and a wicked strong survival instinct and desire to live.Sorry if I’ve gone on too long or gotten too personal, but I do feel your pain (emergency room this morning with Gabe’s fractured wrist), can empathize (the look on your face in the hospital goes straight to my heart), and want you to know it’s all good (as a fellow member of the optimist club, this is our motto). Scary job to love and let go- sounds like you did just fine mamma.

  17. oh my gosh… I’m sitting at my desk weeping giant tears for you. You handled the situation so well – big props to you, Roan and Anson. I hope I remain as composed if ever in a similar situation with my son.And congrats on the pregnancy! Like the other commenter’s, can’t wait to read about the progress. Hope everything goes well.

  18. “…but his peaceful demeanor and willingness to get through it gave me my own sense of peace.”Once again, proof that that is one awesome kid you’ve got there. The fact that he apparently thought back to the other kid screaming on the playground shows tremendous awareness. I’m so glad that all three of you are ok after such a traumatic weekend!And I’m late on congratulating you, as well! The post in which you announced the news was way too clever 😉

  19. Yes, injuries are part of parenting. You have a brave boy who knows he can trust you to do the best you can for him. I raised two boys through broken arms, chin stitches (thanks to falling on freshly painted steps), a broken shoulder, bicep tendinitis and a mildly fractured skull, which was just the worst. You trust the docs but you always advocate for yourself and your child. Every time is a scary time, no doubt about it. But most of the time parents and children get through it.You and your husband have done well, and so has Roan

  20. So – when I encountered that very situation (well, he fell off a slide, but still) I PUT HIM TO BED – and took him to the ER in the morning. So – at least you don’t have that huge amount of guilt to drag around for the rest of your life.

  21. Pffffft, the “no cellphone” rule is bs. Surgeons have nurses hold cells up to their ears during surgery. “Hi honey, I’ll be home in 45 minutes. What’s for dinner?” No kidding.

  22. That was a really beautiful recount of a scary situation. Which are words I never imagined I’d say about a boy breaking his arm, but that’s how it struck me.

  23. Poor little guy! Both bones in the arm and hardly any complaining? That IS a rock star. My son is 15 and has never broken a bone or had stitches. The older he gets without these rites of passage make me more prone to throwing up, I think, when it actually happens.

  24. Wow, so well-written. I’ve seen both of my babies (now 18 and 20) endure injuries that were relatively minor, and others that I knew could have been fatal. Cold-to-the-bone terrifying. I still have bad dreams about them at times. But, time helps. Took me a few steps closer to accepting the life lesson that no matter how hard we try, we can’t keep our world 100% the way we want it to be.

  25. I almost posted nearly this same thing last summer when my son Jack broke his arm. Night time fall, broken radius/ulna, pregnant so couldn’t be in the room with him, very brave little boy… Hope he heals soon!

  26. As I said when we went through something big with our son and others minimised their own relatively minor (but big to them) dramas: No matter how minor or common it may be in the grand scheme of things, if it’s big to *you* it’s still big (it’s your own experience that counts).I do know exactly what you mean, and how heart-wrenching it is to see your own kid in pain. In fact, our own experience was when I really feel I finally bonded with my son – we were forced to when his dad got sick and couldn’t be the night-time hospital parent anymore (he was there for a while). He was always daddy’s boy until then. Doesn’t sound like you have that issue though!Anyway, back to you 😉 – well done both of you and I hope he heals quickly!

  27. Oh, I also meant to say that, from experience, I function best in a *real* crisis, but for little things, I can be a mess ;-)I only broke down in a big way when our son was out of the worst of danger, and when our support network wasn’t taking that much notice any more. I think most of us don’t realise that that’s the natural way we function until they’re in that position – we stay strong when we’re needed, and then we only let go when it’s safe.

  28. Roan really rocks! I’m so sorry that this happened to him (and to you and Anson). You handled it well. Roan’s calm nature is certainly a reflection of how you and Anson have raised him. He sure seems like a great kid.

  29. He’s totally cute in that cast. I just have to jump subjects here and say, how about that LeLaLu…She was a hot little thing in high school but that was nothing compared to the amazingly beautiful force I sense she is now. I love her comments. Now back to the RoRo…

  30. I am teary-eyed. What a lovely account of a really scary situation. Roan is a rockstar, and so are you and Anson. We want to check out the cast.

  31. Lor- You are too kind. I wanted to be YOU in high school. Mysterious, loaded with talent, strikingly beautiful, and so gentle. I used to watch you walk and wish I could glide like that. I most admired how kind and loving you sisters were with each other. My sisters and I were, well, the opposite of that. It seems like you girls have maintained the closeness….what a gift!Thanks for the comment- I had just decided that I said too much and was going to keep it to one-liners from now on. I’m kinda secluded here in NM and relish the chance to reach out and relate.BTW, your art is truly, hauntingly beautiful. Some day when I have $ to burn, I’ll commission you to paint my sweet firstborn boy.

  32. LeLaLu!Oh man I truly hope you never feel that way here – that you’ve said too much. Your willingness to share your experiences with the son you love so much – it’s an honor to be able to listen to your hard-earned wisdom. Truthfully I feel that the things you say are so profound – I have very little to add except a sigh in awe of my old friend. You are an inspiration to me, and you always have been. Keep relating and know that I am thankful for every word you send my way. Now – please send me the recipe for sweet potato enchiladas. They sound too too good.

  33. You have described my nightmare! I am glad to hear that Roan (and you!) survived the experience. I am amazed my three (especially the youngest two) have managed thus far with all bones in tact. I am truly hoping my mettle isn’t tested anytime soon–knock on wood.

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