Worst Parents in the World | Mark’s Remarks

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about how we sometimes ignore and diminish our kids’ aches and pains?

Remember when I told you that we had little sympathy for our 3-year-old that “hurt her leg” while playing outside? Well now, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the “rest of the story.”

As I told you, we thought all was well with the leg. We took Mira to the emergency room because she continued to complain about her leg. We saw that she could bend it. The x-rays showed nothing. Although the nurses wrapped the leg, there was no evidence she had anything more than a bad sprain.

We thought it best to try and get her to put some weight on it, and really thought she was just nursing it along because it had hurt so bad. That evening, we fought with her and finally convinced her to hobble down the hallway a few steps with help from her mother. Oh my, even as I write this, I have enormous pangs of guilt and remorse. We even took off the temporary “cast” the doc had told us was OK to remove.

The next day, all seemed well. She was still nursing the leg along, preferring to crawl around. She was active and still managed to play along in her own care-free manner. I praised her for being so brave.

But as we got ready for supper, I watched her climb up into a chair. Seeming to forget about her bum leg, I saw her put weight on it and watched her little knee quiver. Then, she cried. Again, remorse and guilt flood my being as I write.

So, off to the orthopedic doc we go. You see, the emergency room doctor had recommended this anyway and we already had the appointment made. We assumed he would tell us she had a bad sprain or needed to wear a boot or something.
After taking additional x-rays, we sat waiting in the doc’s office. Without much fanfare or drama, he looked us square in the eye and said the leg was broken. Our daughter, unlike her brothers and sister, is not one to mince words. “It is NOT!”she exclaimed.

Sure enough, it was. There is what the doctor called a “buckle” in the knee. Before we had time for it to sink in, the nurses had her on the table, prepping her for the cast that would extend up to her thigh. Ugh. We finally got her calmed down enough to get a request for the color purple. Did you know casts now come in colors?

Michelle and I felt like shrinking. We both thought of battling it out the few nights before, trying to get the stubborn little thing to put weight on her injured leg. We got our acceptance speech ready for “Parents of the Year.”

Since then, we’ve heard plenty of similar stories. We’ve heard about kids who’ve had broken bones for long periods of time before a doc was finally consulted. Suck it up. Shake it off. It’s too far away from your heart to kill you. We’ve heard them all. And now, it seems, we are starting to say them all.

At this writing, we still have a few days to go. Believe it or not, like the trooper she is, she is hobbling around on the cast with her leg bent a little. She has learned to maneuver around quite nicely. Still, as she hobbles across the floor, we still get our little pangs of guilt. “It’s okay, you didn’t know!” Our friends and family assure us. It does not help the guilt subside.

She is still a little one who hopefully won’t remember the cruelty she had to endure from us. Our younger son, already with a gift of humor that sometimes makes us wonder, let us know that he himself would never forget. I should also mention that he is most protective of all the siblings. The family watchdog. Over-protective, you might say. He was the first one to remind us that we had made her put weight on her leg.

Anyway, as we sat discussing the incident and remarked that maybe she wouldn’t remember what had happened, the room suddenly became quiet.

“Don’t worry,” our son said with an evil grin, “I’ll make sure I tell her the whole story some day.”

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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