Events that shape holidays

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Christmas is often a time when a singular event becomes henceforth embedded in family lore. An engagement, a birth, a death — any number of things that may happen around Christmas will be recalled for years, decades, afterward at Christmastime.

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And so it is, that Christmas 2015 will be henceforth remembered in the Edwards and Tucker family as the year that three-year-old granddaughter Elizabeth (Ellie to the world that knows her) fell out of bed while visiting her grandparents for a “sleepover” — and broke her femur.

The morning of Dec. 23 will thus be enshrined (sorry, Ellie) as a time when a bit of family crisis dominated the holiday and will do so for weeks to come.

While we were horrified at what had happened, the event also became a time of thanksgiving for everyone. First, thanksgiving that Ellie’s break was, if not routine, then at least not uncommon at her age, according to the pediatric orthopedic surgeon who saw her. Who among us would have guessed?

Second, that while the break is serious, there is no reason to believe that she won’t fully recover, and at her age, quickly.

And third, there was thankfulness that there is a place in Norfolk known as the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. What an incredible resource for Hampton Roads, and especially for the young parents in our midst.

In time of crisis, parents — and grandparents, I would add —need reassurance, when it’s reasonable to give it, that this too will pass. The doctors and nurses at CHKD offer the expertise, the gentle care and, just as important, that very reassurance to all who enter the hospital’s doors.

Ellie left CHKD with what I would describe as a partial body cast that immobilizes her left leg completely from ankle to waist as well as the upper right leg.

The cast, Ellie announced, is “Anna (pronounced Honor) pink” for her favorite “Frozen” character. She came home equipped with the pink cast and a packet of colored markers for any and all to sign her encasement. By the end of Christmas Day, there were few places left to sign.

So, for the next month, Ellie, her parents, grandparents and friends thereof will deal with the immobility of a three-year-old, but my prediction is that by sometime this spring she will return to dance classes — with a tale to tell.

Meanwhile, we’re working on a transportation mode so that she can make he twice-weekly trips to the Ice Cream Parlor to buy M&M’s.