That quote pretty much sums up our family vacation—a vacation where a sprained ankle during a lacrosse game served as the catalyst for a three-day whine about how we have failed as parents to shower the appropriate attention on each and every one of our children. Jack was enjoying his time as an ‘only child’. With his sister in Mexico and his brother hanging out with his team, Jack was living the life he had always dreamed about—a life where he got his own bed in the hotel, had full attention of his Dad while playing in the pool and even got to choose his own snacks for the car trip. While Jack knew that the bulk of our first two days of vacation would be spent watching Nate and his team on the lacrosse field, he was looking forward to those moments in between games when, as it should be, the world would revolve around Jack.
Then, Nate got hurt. And, not just the regular cuts and bruises that come from playing a contact sport with sticks, but really hurt. A severe sprain in his upper ankle put him on crutches and left him out of the rest of the weekend’s games. Our schedule suddenly changed—a Saturday afternoon at the beach was replaced by finding crutches and icing/elevating a foot and our Sunday evening out became ordering takeout and watching the Olympics from our hotel room. Yes, it was not the ideal vacation for a 9 year-old boy who began to remind us of his own ankle “injury” that happened just months ago while he was playing basketball in the driveway. “You didn’t do this for me,” he said as he sat on the hotel bed wishing desperately for the sprained ankle and his brother to disappear. “You just made me come inside and take a break. I wish I had crutches.”
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and that statement was never more clear than when a boy who loves sports wishes he had crutches. We did our best to accommodate Jack’s wish list of activities without making Nate more miserable (sorry, Jack, the climbing of the sand dunes just couldn’t happen) and in the end, we discovered that what Jack really wanted was our time and attention—preferably without him having to sprain a ligament or break a bone.