The curb came out of nowhere and, in an instant, I went from a brisk walk to belly down on the concrete sidewalk. Immediately, the panic set in. A rush of adrenaline propelled me up to standing again while spurting “I’m ok,” to concerned passers-by. But I wasn’t okay.
It was early summer, a lovely warm Monday evening — the end of a pleasantly productive day. I was running errands with my daughter while my son was at track practice. There were treats to whip up for an event the next night and a dinner to make. I didn’t have time not to be okay.
But I knew I wasn’t. My body was vibrating with shock and pain, as I tried to regain some degree of normal. But even as my loved ones urged me to go to urgent care, I resisted. I didn’t have time for that. This would pass.
Instead, we finished the errands, picked up my son and headed home.
My whole body was jittery. My hand was swelling, throbbing and not feeling much better with ice on it. Standing made my stomach do flips. I wasn’t okay, and finally said so. My kids convinced me to lay on the couch while they hurriedly made dinner.
Sometimes the hardest thing to admit is that you are struggling, that you hurt, that something is very wrong. Sometimes, though, it’s even harder to wrap your head around what to do. I had people trying to help me, to guide me, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. I was afraid. I didn’t have time for injuries.
With my daughter’s help, I got the treats for the event done — or enough of them, at least. It was nice though — working together on the treats, even if it was born of necessity.
The next day, despite the swelling, I had full motion of my hand and fingers. Sure, it was hard to type, hard to edit, hard to think but once my hand was wrapped tightly in a bandage I managed. I even wrote my column. The swelling decreased a little each day. On Friday, I saw my physician — a regularly scheduled physical — and with swelling reduced, she declared it a sprain and ordered me to wear a brace for at least a week. I did — actually, for a little longer than that.
Everything is back to normal now, but that experience was eye opening. I am fortunate that my hand has healed, but it’s the lessons of that day that really stand out the most.
Chief among them is the ability to accept help. We, as people, struggle. Sometimes it’s because we have too much going on. Sometimes it’s because we’re tired or ill or otherwise distracted. Sometimes it’s because we’re injured as I was. But it doesn’t matter why — what matters is knowing that there is no harm in saying “yes,” when someone offers help.
Moreover, it’s okay to realize that sometimes we do, in fact, take on too much. It’s okay then to pull back and reassess what we’re doing. I buried the lede a little here, but when I fell, it was because I was trying to respond to a work email while walking into the store to get supplies for a project that needed to get done. I’m not sure anyone really needs to do that much multi-tasking.
John Donne wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” That seems apropos here. We live interconnected lives where our circumstances impact others. I was the injured one, but I wasn’t the only one who dealt with it. My kids had to take on more responsibilities (not a bad thing, for sure) and my significant other had to take on some things I simply couldn’t do, for instance.
When I take on too much, it’s not just me dealing with the impact; it’s everyone around me. And if that’s not an argument for pulling back a little, reassessing and readjusting my schedule, then I am not sure what is.
And, really, giving myself a little more space in my schedule does leave time for some positive things. Like baking.
Wild blueberries are plentiful at farmers’ markets right now, and they are lovely in baked goods like this quick bread recipe.
Tender, lightly sweetened and studded with blueberries, this is a delightful bread to slice, toast and enjoy with a smear of butter. It’s great for breakfasts or snacks. And, being a quick bread, it’s a pretty easy recipe to whip up.
But make no mistake: quick breads do need some time to cook. This one bakes for about an hour. What distinguishes it as a quick bread is the fact that it doesn’t need to rise, as a yeast bread would.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ cups wild blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the inside of an 8.5-inch loaf pan with butter. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and light brown sugar together with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the stand mixer running on its lowest setting, add the flour mixture a little at a time to the butter mixture until incorporated. Stir in the blueberries.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap gently to even out.
- Bake for 1 hour, until golden and cooked through.
- Cool completely before slicing.