How I broke my foot isn’t a good story so I joke that “Ed Sheeran tripped me.” Sometimes I say, “I wrestled a lion. You should see what happened to him.” or “I jumped out of a plane and missed the landing.” People like that better. By “people” I mean all the strangers who meet me and ask what happened to my foot. In that sense, a broken foot is like being pregnant. It’s an apparent invitation to chat.
The day before my scheduled vacation, I’d been in crutches for three weeks. No weight allowed on my foot or I risked needing surgery. I followed doctor’s orders in the hopes that I would be completely healed for the trip. We were going to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. We had budgeted and saved for the trip and booked it months ago.
When the podiatrist told me I needed another week on crutches I considered canceling the trip. I thought about how excited the boys were for this trip. We had watched videos of tours of the resort and about flying on a plane. I couldn’t let them down and I couldn’t let myself get depressed. I winced and bought a cane. I’d make it work even if I looked pitiful.
So I had discovered my t-shirt motto: Life’s not perfect, but I’m having fun anyway.
Did I mention my middle son just got over a stomach bug, my baby just finished pink eye treatment, and I had just finished a painful bout of strep throat? This summer seemed to be one trial after another. We were finally all healthy, just barely.
So we went. We took our 16-month-old, four-year-old, and six-year-old on an international flight. We took our fair-skinned, lively kids to paradise and it was worth all the packing struggles and traveling challenges to do it. The infinity pool had amazing views of the turquoise beach. We drank sweet cocktails at the swim-up bar. The kids ate whatever, whenever they wanted from the buffet and I didn’t wash a single dish! My dumb foot was broken, but I still felt so lucky, lucky enough to be able to go on a vacation.
There’s never enough money. The kids are too old or too young. Work is always busy. There is never a perfect time to take that trip, buy that house, or have a baby. Be reasonable, be smart, be conscientious and don’t spend more than you have. But if you can do it, then do it! If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll wait forever.
Yes, the baby had an embarrassing meltdown two hours into the flight. I popped a lollipop in his mouth and he calmed down. Yes, the boys ate doughnuts for breakfast. I rolled with it. Lucky for my foot, there were golf carts to help me get from one end of the resort to the other. Everything worked out wonderfully. The hardest part was showing up.
Life is never ever perfect. There’s always something that can ruin your joy if you let it. Having three kids means someone is always getting over some sickness. With a broken foot, the house is a wreck and it’s a struggle to get dinner made every night. But it doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s what a summer with a broken foot taught me. I’m making it work as best as I can. I’m having fun with the kids anyway.
We go places and I rest. We have different fun than last summer (the kind that doesn’t require hiking or biking or walking too much). If I were waiting for perfect I would be missing the opportunities right now. So I’m jumping in even though it’s hard.
Life’s not perfect but I’m enjoying it anyway.