On Wednesday morning I threw out my back. Bad.
I had an out of town guest arriving later that afternoon and another set of friends were stopping by for lunch. My toddler was running around without pants on, and I needed to squeeze a workout in so I could log it with my fitness group. I was already struggling to meet a deadline for an editor who just kept piling things on my plate. Rafal kept telling me to email the editor and say I couldn’t handle so much right now. But I thought, “Nah. I can get it all done.”
Then I turned slightly to move a heavy vase of sunflowers from one surface to another and KAPOW, an electric sting that started at one hip and made its way across my lower back. I stood completely still, hoping maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. When I took a deep breath and tried to move again I realized it was worse. I had to stand a 45 degree angle.
So of course I spent the rest of the day trying to learn a lesson: what was this injured back trying to teach me? It isn’t as simple as, “No, you can’t do everything.” Because admitting that I can’t do everything doesn’t somehow let me off the hook for getting things done.
The next morning I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment. (Thank goodness for my narrow proximity to town.) Perhaps the real message is housed within the concept of “adjustment” itself. The chiropractor did not heal me with one snap-crackle-pop. I’m still icing it. I’m still taking ibuprofen. I have to go back again this week, and for several weeks thereafter.
But it moved me a notch or two in the right direction; it helped to plant both of my feet equally on the ground. And maybe this injury can help adjust a few other things: my obsession with a clean house, my mania when it comes to working out, my inability to admit when I can’t handle what I’ve been handed, my rotten attitude when I can’t do what I want. Perhaps I can scale each one these back one notch, one vertebra. Perhaps I can pop each of these attitudes one degree in the desired direction. Maybe it will help me keep both feet planted, and move on.
I had to admit that I was injured, that I was vulnerable. I had to tell Rafal, “No, I can’t do that 4 mile hike.” I had to show my friend Sabrina (and her dog Zaza) a bit of Yellowstone by car. But they really didn’t seem to mind, and I got to say hello to Artist Point.
Sabrina and Zaza hit the road on Friday morning, and Rafal and I were left wondering how to spend the rest of out weekend. Hiking was out, biking was out, driving long distances in the car was out. So we formulated a plan based on healing.
First, we made out way over to Emigrant, Montana (about a 40 minute drive) to check out Wildflour Bakery. (Breakfast food and coffee always soothe me.)
Then, we paid a visit to Chico Hot Springs (a beautiful hot spring resort just up the road from Emigrant). It was heaven.
We lounged by the pool, we drank non-alcoholic cocktails, we let our worries melt right into the natural hot spring water. Our little family unit tends to go-go-go, always searching for next the adventure. We’re not always good about slowing down. As Lydia rounds the corner of 2.5 (tomorrow to be exact), we need to try our best to savor these moments. We’re great at smelling the wild flowers, but we often need a reminder to stop.
Yesterday, we soaked in the fountain of youth: hoping it could keep our girl tiny for just one extra day, hoping it could heal our tired bones, hoping the joy would seep into our hearts. I think it worked. I think we all feel a little better than before.