My 5-year-old hurt herself on Saturday---not this past Saturday, but the one before that. She was playing in the backyard with her oldest sister, ran hard and tripped (she was being chased), and landed hard on her shoulder with her big sister falling on top of her.
She cried pretty hard and I was concerned, but not exactly sure what to do. I watched her closely for several hours, gave her Tylenol, and frequently asked "how high you can reach?" to get her to move her arm. Eventually she did, and by the end of the night she seemed better.
Fast forward nine days when we realized something was still wrong. I took her to our doctor, who gave her an examination, sent us off for x-rays, and determined she had a fractured clavicle and needed a strap to help get things back the way they should be.
Can you say "Worst parent of the year?" I should have taken her in right away, but I didn't (and I feel pretty badly about it now). The only thing worse than living in denial is neglect.
It makes me wonder what other areas of life I notice initially but let go, thinking that over time things will probably just get better---cleaning out the cats' litter box, for example, or letting a child's attitude problem continue because, frankly, I'm tired of dealing with it.
Here's what I'm finally beginning to understand: Denial and neglect don't make things better; they just put off what eventually has to be done. Dealing with the litter box is as much a pain the 10th time as the first time, but something has to be done about the stink.
Self-examinations are not always reliable, as when left alone in a corner, I can convince myself of just about anything. Sometimes it would be nice to have an X-ray machine to run my life through for an analysis of what's really going on.
I guess that's what the Holy Spirit is for, but that doesn't do me a whole lot of good when I'm not really sure about the symptoms. Times like this make me think maybe I've been avoiding the inevitable for too long. Perhaps it's time to make an appointment with the Doctor . . . stat.