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My Saturday night date!

There are a few things I’ve probably been taking for granted, and our strong backs, easy mobility, and general good health have been some of ’em. But, nothing can last forever, right? A few weeks ago, I was out picking cucumbers when Evelyn called me on the way home from church youth activities.

“Hello?” I answered.

Loud music and giggling filtered in from the background.

“Dad broke his foot.”

More giggling.



“Dad might have broken his foot playing basketball.” Evelyn, Claire, and Kate giggled some more. “He needs you to take him to urgent care.”

Alrighty, then. I hadn’t considered breaking a foot to be all that funny, but clearly, I’d missed the joke. So, I dumped my cucumbers, and the rest of the evening was put on a different trajectory.

I have yet to break a bone (knock on wood!), but I imagine if I did, I wouldn’t be singing along to the radio, and giggling about it. As they arrived home, I rushed the kids into bed, half of them still spitting out their toothpaste into the sink as I tossed them on their mattresses, and insisted they sleep NOW. Then, I rushed Jack like a tiny ambulance in our rundown little Honda to the nearest urgent care. 
Turns out, the urgent care we headed to A) didn’t have an x-ray machine and B) had decided to close early, which left us facing the dreaded emergency room. It was a lot like we’d expected it’d be. A bit crowded and a little slow, but all things considered, an injured foot was the least of the things they were tending to that night. Someone had been thrown from their horse (been there, done that, but never with an ER visit tacked on to the experience), another person had a suspected stroke, and another guy came out to tell his buddy who was waiting to take him home something about a “nubbin” and “unable to reattach it.” 😳 So, yeah… a possibly mildly broken foot was the least of their concerns.
After a few hours of waiting (which I used as uninterrupted writing time… high five to me!), a visit from the portable x-ray machine, and two ER doctors, they concluded that Jack’s foot wasn’t broken. Hooray!
Except, the two of them were wrong. Jack had a follow up visit at the podiatrist, who gave the ER doctors a bit of a pass because the break was so clean, and the bone was still in place, so it was hard to detect without knowing exactly what to be looking for. So, yes, Jack’s foot IS broken. BOO.
Okay, Rachael. Deep breath. Whining isn’t going to change a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g about this. In any inconveniently bad situation, turns out there are inevitably silver linings. We’ll ignore the fact that Jack broke his DRIVING foot (noooooo!), and that the garden had just started gushing fruits and vegetables gallore, most of which Jack couldn’t pick up and carry himself without the free use of his hands, and focus on the positive. Happy thoughts, everyone! For one beautiful etching of light around the otherwise ominous cloud, it’s super convenient that Jack has already been working from home. There hasn’t been much disruption to his work schedule. That’s a huge, huge blessing. Also, no surgery required. BAM! Another good thing because if you didn’t know, Jack is not one of those funny people after surgery. He’s actually very stoic, literal…kind of boring. No silly, viral, post-op videos from him.
Though I wish I could say my life wasn’t disrupted by his injury, it’s unavoidable to have things change when the people you’re entwined with have something dramatic happen. There have been days when I’ve literally dropped kids off at school, taken Jack to his appointments, or work conferences, picked up the kids from school, made dinner, did the dishes…and that’s pretty much it. For a time, writing came to a halt, which was a dagger to the heart, and things just kept piling up. The garden had gone feral with weeds and produce, the stalls were in dire need of cleaning, painting the deck pretty much stopped, and the cherry on top was following a work conference trip, Jack developed a blood clot in his calf. ARGH!
Whenever I felt like whining again, there were more silver linings. Like discovering Jack’s blood clot? Pretty miraculous. Better yet, it was caught before it was life-threatening. That’s like an entire ray of sunlight breaking through the stormy clouds. And though I was struggling to keep up with it all, we managed to keep everyone fed, healthy, and clean(ish).

Like me, Jack has a hard time staying off his feet. It’s not in his nature, and this time of year, there isn’t a lot of time for it, so where Jack is able, he’s there helping.

The doctor told him to keep his leg elevated, so Peter volunteered to help. 😅
He’s supervised putting up hay into the loft, and wrestled a few of the bales onto the hay elevator when the girls couldn’t get it quite right. All from the seated position on the back of the flatbed trailer it was delivered on. Next year, it’s my turn to be down there.

Several times, I’ve found him sitting on the floor in the kitchen, juicing the tomatoes for me. When I didn’t have time or the mental capacity to think about taking care of the impatient tomatoes, that threatened to spoil the second we picked them, Jack’s service was done with perfect timing. That’s true love right there.

He’s even helped me with late-night fencing repairs when the calves pushed through to get back to their mamas. Hobbling over to the machine shed, he hopped on the mower, and maneuvered around the pasture as we patched the broken wire back together. I could have done it by myself, but I’m not too proud to admit it’s way, way easier (and so much more fun!) when I get to fix the fence with Jack.
I do make light of a lot of this whole situation, but there have been times of frustration, irritation, and despair from all of us. It’s hard to see a man who I always look to as a pillar of literal strength knocked down because a teensy, tiny bone in his foot has wreaked so much havoc. It has been a humbling experience for Jack, too, but he’s swallowed his pride and asked for help when he needs it. If he can’t carry in a ripe watermelon, he asks me to do it. If I can’t fix something on my own, he asks someone else to come over and help. It’s another sign of how much he cares for his family, that he’s willing and able to admit when he can’t step up. One thing that hasn’t waned in this whole experience is his sense of humor.
Crutches or not, Jack can’t stay away from the beach and the waves.
In an another attempt to see on the bright side of things, I told Jack that at least being on crutches meant he wouldn’t be sneaking up on me for a while. He grinned, and said, “Challenge accepted.”
There’s the Jack that I know and love! 🤣

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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