What gifts can breaking an ankle bring?


I broke my ankle on 6 August 2017 for the second time.  Different ankle, then the last time 17 years ago, but I still broke it.  And just like before, it still came out of nowhere.

The first time I broke my ankle I was 19 years old and taking my first real vacation from my first real corporate world job.  I was at a pumpkin festival with family swinging out on a rope swing and falling into a pit of packing foam.  I was doing it with an over 6foot tall guy and he wasn’t hitting bottom.  But of course, on the last time, I swung out, instead of swinging and landing on my back I managed to get a leg tucked under me and the only metaphor I can use to describe it was that it felt like someone had stepped on my ankle and compressed it like, when you step on an aluminum can.

That was a huge break, breaking both my tibia and fibula and needing surgery and a long recovery.  I still have a plate with 7 screws on the outside of that ankle and big long screw on the other side, and scars to show for it.  But I did eventually recover.

And there were gifts.  I read the first Harry Potter book in 24 hours and then proceeded to read the next two (all that were currently published at the time), I had the opportunity to “wake up” and realize that I did not want to stay working in the corporate world anymore and that I really wanted to go be a camp counselor or park ranger and have an adventurous life.  I left my job about six months after healing, got a job at my old Girl Scout Camp and then went to France with my Dad who was attending a conference, which in a long way around led to my visiting New Zealand and getting engaged.

So this August when I was hiking a local trail that my family and I have hiked many, many times before (including at least a half dozen times this year) while also with one of the neighbor kids, I was completely taken by surprise when I slipped on some wet rocks and fell, having first one ankle tuck under me and then hearing a loud pop from the other ankle.  I pretty much knew instantly that I broke it.  But there was getting down off the hiking trail that had to happen first.  Hiking boots saved the day.

This fracture has been much different from the first.  In part, because it is a stable fracture, the bone has stayed in alignment and so it has simply been a matter of providing support while my body works on healing the bone.  Did you know you can walk around on a healing bone?  My first broken ankle had required surgery and 6 weeks in a cast followed by 8 weeks in a walking boot.  So far I have skipped surgery, had an air cast for six weeks but was able to start walking without crutches about 3-4 weeks and am now spending six weeks in a lace-up brace that I can wear with or without my shoes on.

I know there are other gifts to have happened during this break.  I can’t see them all yet (hindsight truly is better for somethings) but I know the reorganizing of my fall has brought gifts with it.  One of which being that I no longer do the dishes or much to do with the laundry, that my older two girls have added that to their responsibilities.

As I heal more fully I expect to start to realize the other gifts have been given.  Healing comes in many forms and sometimes we have to break something first.

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
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