To the delight of the kids, Christian had taken a random August Wednesday off to pack the SUV to the gills with snacks, sunscreen, and beach toys, and when it could hold no more, we piled in and zipped off to enjoy Morgan Family Beach Day 2017.
Who could have known a ruthless assailant lurked nearby?
We pulled into the Point Pleasant lot, gathered up our “Fun Gear”, and headed toward the shoreline. The kids squealed with delight as they ditched their flip-flops and immersed their feet in the glistening sand. We pitched our camp. Colorful towels and sandcastles, beach ball and snacks, seagulls and water. It was all fun and games.
Hannah asked me to swim with her, and I gladly obliged. We swam out past the littles dipping buckets for castle-building and past the knee-depth adventurers seeking shells and creatures, settling into the deeper water rhythm, letting the waves push us up, then gently letting our bodies fall.
After a mere five minutes, I felt an object strike the middle toe on my left foot at such high speed that my entire leg shot out and swung me 180-degrees. Pain almost immediately replaced the shock. I awkwardly lurched forward and clutched my ankle but then nearly face-planted in the salty water..
“Hannah,” I gasped, “are you okay?” My mama bear instincts kicked in. I initially thought I’d somehow kicked her shin and worried that she suffered a worse injury than mine.
With a sweet, faraway look, she took a minute to paddle around and face me.
“Didn’t you feel that?”
“I don’t know,” I said, amazed she hadn’t sustained an injury. “Some strong current or a rock . . . something hit me so hard that I spun around. I couldn’t tell if I whacked your shin.”
“I’m fine.” She returned to her dreamy, relaxed floating over the wave tops, focusing her gaze back to the shoreline.
I’m not! I didn’t want to intrude further on her reverie and vowed to hang in there a while longer, but I wasn’t sure how long I could last. All attempts to catch and hold my ailing appendage were inhibited by the waves, so it hung down in the water, fluttering and flapping with the current.
Instead of resembling a solid, weblike flipper, my left foot had become a prong-like, inefficient painful mess. Time to pull the plug.
I hobbled back to camp while Hannah reported the news to Christian. Lifeguards gathered and the EMT assessed. Christian packed up the no-longer-fun gear. The kids oscillated between disappointment and concern, and a beach wheelchair carried me to the gate, where we loaded up and headed home.
Early. Way too early.
I tried to console myself and my blessed carload with Pollyanna thoughts. At least we got to go. I’ll only visit the ER, not be admitted. The drive isn’t long. We can come back another time.
Then I glanced in my little spy view mirror.
Speckles of sand stuck to their faces and necks as they stared out the windows, open-mouthed and nearly nodding off. They’d so looked forward to this day. I glanced at Christian sideways, the set of his jaw, the sag of his shoulders.
I changed course. Tossing my power of positive thinking to the wind, I spoke the words they needed to hear most in that moment.
“I’m sorry, everybody,” I said, my voice breaking with sobs. “I’m sorry we had to leave early. I didn’t want to either. It really stinks.”
Hearts melted and small smiles covered their faces.
“It’s okay, Mommy!”s and “You couldn’t help it”s erupted throughout the vehicle. Christian grasped my hand and squeezed with a chuckle.
“It’ll make for great footage.”
Great. Just great.
Hannah accompanied me to the ER. Christian had thought it might need to be set, but alas, I received the standard tape, ace bandage, and crutches. I could’ve used the ones from last summer (when I broke my right foot) if one arm pad hadn’t fallen off.
Six weeks later, it still isn’t healed. I’ve probably been walking on it too much, but with three young kids during the summertime, it’s hard to keep this girl down. I’ll try to be good for a bit longer . . .
To this day, I have no idea what struck my toe. The podiatrist following up with me said that the break was bad, running diagonally down the length of my bone. Abby had attended the initial visit with me, and when he’d asked which toe I’d broken, she giggled.
“It ate roast beef.”
For the full and complete video of Morgan Family Beach Day 2017, click here.