During a regular week, our family calendar, which hangs in our kitchen pantry, is full of red Sharpie scribbles that are eventually transferred into an email schedule that is sent to everyone in our family as well as the babysitter and our carpool partners.
It's like a complex puzzle, pulling the pieces together every week and plugging in the holes with help from friends getting kids to and from school and activities. It literally takes an army to make it happen — so, when you're down one soldier, the ripple effect can be dizzying.
My husband fell off a ladder and broke his humerus bone in his arm last week. It’s a very painful injury with a long recovery period that has basically rendered his right arm useless for the foreseeable future. The good news is that even though it was a serious fall, he didn’t have more serious injuries to his head or back — it’s just an arm.
But, the flip side is that it’s an arm. Anyone who has been down one arm knows that an arm is quite necessary for a lot of important things — things like dressing, bathing, driving, feeding and typing. There are no holes in the weekly calendar in between carpool, school, work, dance and sports that take this new situation into account.
"Husband has one arm" should be the blanket statement on the calendar that will explain why certain things will not be happening as planned. According to the doctor, this declaration could be in place for as long as six months.
We’re adjusting one day at a time. The girls are stepping up to the plate and helping their father with the simplest of tasks like getting him a glass of milk or typing something for him on the computer. I’m pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go with only one driver in the family.
I’ve also taken on all the chores he previously did with two arms that now fall to me — feeding the animals, taking out the trash, carrying heavy loads of laundry up the stairs. I even bought paint yesterday at Lowe’s (did you know there are multiple choices to make besides color?).
Like every setback in life, this too will pass and surely we will learn something as a family from the experience. No one wants him to heal and regain his independence more than he does. But, for now, he will have to settle for being waited on and catered to by three women who definitely don’t know when to use semi-gloss paint or how to back the riding lawnmower out of the garage.
But, somehow we will survive. I’m sure of it ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.