"Mommy," my daughter Natalie said as she returned home from school. "I had a miserable day."
I hugged her. "Why?"
"I can't participate in PE. I can't participate in recess. And a boy called me Cast Face."
I swallowed back a laugh at that. I knew it had to be difficult for her. Natalie broke her wrist and the doctor wrote a note saying she was excused from PE for six weeks. This also includes recess, to be safe. She is still able to go outside with the class, but she has to sit out. My daughter is active, so this is tough. She loves PE. While some kids would be cheering to be able to sit out, mine is miserable.
"It's so you won't hurt yourself. Or your wrist even more. You heard what the doctor said."
He had told Natalie to take it easy, that she didn't want to hurt her wrist any further. It's hard for Natalie to "take it easy." Her feet are itching to run. To jump. To climb.
"And as for the boy who called your Cast Face, tell him he's not very smart. You don't have a cast on your face." I scowled. Why do kids have to be such jerks?
"Plus my teacher snapped at me and was like, 'You better not be running around at recess,'" and I was like, 'I'm not.' I wanted to tell her not to yell at me for nothing." Natalie eyes filled with tears. "It just feels like ages. I miss recess." Her chin quivered.
"It hasn't even been a week yet and when you come home from school, you're running all over the place. I have to constantly remind you to walk," I pointed out.
Natalie gave me a Look. "It's so boring to sit out."
"Read a book," I suggested. As a kid, my face was always in a book. My friends would get annoyed. "Amber," they'd say, "could you put your book down and play with us?"
"I don't like to read like you do. It's like you don't know me at all," Natalie replied dramatically.
I had to swallow down a laugh again.
"Hey," I said. "I know it's tough. Remember I had a cast around your age. I had to sit out."
"But you were fine with it because you read." Natalie stuck her tongue out.
It pains me that she doesn't love to read like I do. "Well, yes. But it was still tough." I stared at her cast. "How about I sign it and when you're feeling down, you can look at it and cheer up? You'll know I'm thinking about you."
I held my breath. Natalie is at an age where notes from her Mommy isn't always cool anymore. Maybe she'd snap at me and say it was a silly idea.
"Okay," Natalie sniffed.
I found a marker and gently took her cast. It was a rough surface, so my writing wasn't that neat. But Natalie knew what it said.
"There," I said. "If you're feeling sad, just look at that."
Natalie stared at it. "I will. Thank you, Mommy."