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Thursday, September 4, 2014

An Excruciating Recess

Lessons Learned

The Broken Arm

It was broken, of that there was no doubt. The bones in the lower arm were out of place and the pain of that must have been beyond excruciating.  Five minutes earlier, the first graders were all joyously and energetically swinging across the monkey-bars, laughing and cheering one another on. It was really a happy, sunny, very typical noon recess. Until the fall. Just a simple slip of the hand caused the fall onto a grassy spot, and it wasn’t even particularly high, but the landing was just right, or perhaps just wrong, to create the break. An audible collective gasp by the bystanding students, pierced by a heart-wrenching scream, followed by a low steady moan which was shrouded by an eerie playground silence, all occurred within seconds of time and perpetrated the evacuation of the playground, the call to 911, and a small circle of very focused and very concerned staff caregivers  positioned around the very brave first grader. “My brother,” the first grader whispered.  Within moments his big brother was delivered to the child’s side. Smiles, through the pain, were exchanged, and then began a faithful brotherly vigil that brought peace, comfort, security, and strength. A remarkable, beautiful demonstration of the power of family love.  Their eyes remained locked, the moaning ceased, and together they would fight through this. Very few, if any, words were shared. The peace was in the presence; the very familiar presence. Right there, right then, in the noontime breeze, on the playground grass, through intense and agonizing pain, a little but very brave first grader drew great, almost unimaginable strength and courage from the presence of his big brother, as together quite lost to the rest of us they awaited the sound of the siren and the arrival of the paramedics. The healing had begun.