When I began the journey to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel competition, I had to create a new plan to get my body to the next “level.” I mapped it all out on a calendar. I knew what foods I would eat and when I would eat them. I planned what time of the day I would get everyone to the gym and how long those workouts would be.
I had also planned two workouts a day to really push myself more than I had before, especially since I was short on time. I planned out my rest to make sure I went to bed on time, did my weekly food prep, and studied up on all of the refreshers that I needed to get my head in the game. I needed new running shoes, but didn’t have the money to get them quite yet, so I put together a plan to be able to afford those within a few weeks time as well. I was trying think of everything I would need to make sure I finished strong.
All was going well. The “plan” was working. I was following through with what I had intended to do and was beginning to see the early stages of the results.
Until one evening…
It was a normal weekday evening. The weather was beautiful, the sun going down.
We had just finished family dinner.
The kids were playing outside at the park in front of our house and I was baking some cookies.
And all of a sudden I heard the most awful, piercing, blood-curdling screams I have ever heard in my entire life. I paused for just a moment because, like any mom, I can tell within a couple of seconds whose child it is.
Sure enough, it was mine.
And it was my oldest son. My Bubba, my Kai.
A second later I heard my husband yelling, “Get mom!” “Get mom!”
I knew, whatever it was, was bad. I ran outside, knocking over one of the dining chairs and just barely avoiding trampling over my daughter, whose eyes were as huge as saucers as she was as terrified as I was. I saw my husband holding my son in both of his arms running toward the house. My son, still screaming, and my husband yelling “get the insurance cards and some ice NOW!!! AND DON’T LOOK AT HIS ARMS!!!!”
All five kids were hysterical at this point. The 2 year old, who had been playing in the back of a parked pick up truck, was now standing over the edge screaming, and my husband was asking me to get him out of there! My other two middle sons were screaming out of fear and sheer panic. My daughter, who had raced outside with me, was crying and whimpering frantically.
I ignored my husbands advice and I ran to my son to look at his arms. My heart was panicking and my head spinning as I scanned his body and tried to assess what in the world had just happened and how bad the damage was.
And then I saw it.
His right arm looked like an S. What used to be a normal shaped wrist and arm now looked like a snake. His hand was hanging limp and his wrist already swollen. His head was bloody, his arm clearly broken and his forehead was already the size of a softball.
My heart was pounding. Tears were welling up. A knot immediately formed in my throat and another in my stomach. I frantically attempted to get the insurance cards, yet nothing in me wanted to leave his side.
As my husband peeled out of the driveway, I caught a glimpse of my son’s face. No one was in the car to comfort and encourage him because I had four other kids to put to bed and my husband had to drive. My son had tears streaming down his face and the most terrified look in his eyes.
I honestly think my heart could have ripped in half.
Tears now were streaming down my own face.
I called as quickly as I could in search of anyone that could come help me, and finally a young gal from our church answered and came over to the house as fast as she could. While I waited for her to arrive, I managed to put the other kids to bed and packed a bag to be ready to catch up to my husband and son at the children’s hospital.
The ER room was packed, and though my son was no longer screaming his face showed every bit of the pain he was in. By that time they had put him in a wheelchair and my husband was doing all he could to console him. My son was trying as best as he could to doze off and would even start to, but the wheelchair wasn’t stable and every time he would loosen the tightness in his core the padding underneath him would slip, jolt him, and send him back into screams of pain.
I gently slid myself underneath him and sat down in the wheelchair underneath him.
I held him there, I sang to him, prayed for him, and told him repeatedly that everything would be okay—all the while not knowing anything about when or how the doctors would help him.
Finally he fell asleep in my arms. I did not move even a single muscle.
It was this moment, and many more so very much like them, that were in the back of my mind as I later wrote the script for my entry video for the Labrada contest.
“Fitness in and of itself is NOT my biggest priority. Pursuing a life of strength and health allows me to do the best job possible as a wife and mom. I need to be ready…for anything and everything.”
We spent 7 hours in that hospital. After Xrays, an IV,morphene, sedation, and casts we were sent home with two broken arms, a slight concussion and a young boy vomiting every twenty minutes as the morphene wore off.
I was awake all night long as I held his head and cleaned him up each time he got sick, and it was my absolute and total joy to be the one to care for him.
In the days and weeks that followed we were overwhelmed with support, love and kindness from friends and family
He was not able to return to school for 6 weeks, which meant I was his main caretaker for every single thing he needed around the clock. With two broken arms he was unable to even wipe his nose or scratch his foot, much less eat or use the restroom on his own. He slept right by me during the night, and then in the day I got him a bell so that he could ring it every time he needed something.
I still had the other kids to care for, which meant there was absolutely no down time for me. From the second my feet hit the floor until the few moments I was able to sleep before Kai needed my help through the night, it was a constant and all-out sprint in service to my family.
It was those days, and so many similar to them, that I remembered in my mind when I wrote…
“I know what it’s like to still pursue a fitness goal with little or no sleep, and little or no food and off the chart stress levels.”
At this point I was already “behind” from beginning the fitness plan 7 weeks away from the deadline. And life was already busy with five little ones…and now a son with two broken arms and a concussion.
What was I to do?
Quit trying and forget about it all? Or keep trying, keep pushing, keep going, keep pressing on?
I chose to keep working.
I changed up EVERYTHING. I re-planned and re-organized and I managed the home to revolve around the needs of those around me, like I always did, only the needs were FAR greater than I had originally planned on.
The pace was even faster and the demands on me even higher. I kept up with my personal meal planning, and the family meal planning, sometimes doing food prep and cooking into the wee hours of the morning.
I fit in workouts whenever I possibly could, but was unable to use the gym as I originally intended. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my son’s side for very long at all and there was NO way I was about to put him at risk going to the gym childcare room.
I had to think outside of the box, using videos from YouTube, using fitness DVD’s I purchased a decade ago, using fitness apps on my phone, or just making up workouts as I went along.
As my son began to feel better he would sit on a blanket outside at the park across the street from our house and clock me as I ran sprints and laps. I would let him pretend to be my coach and give me my exercises on demand! He would come up with the most goofy and silly things for me to do and we still laugh at how fun those workouts were!
No doubt it was a bonding experience!
So, how’d I do?! Well, I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be for the Spokesmodel contest…but that was not my number one priority. Life happens…and sometimes accidents happen. I know, with all confidence, that I wouldn’t change a single thing as I put my son first. He still speaks fondly about how much fun it was to be waited on hand and foot during those days. And my other kids joke that they want to break their arms too to get that kind of attention like he did! (Seriously, they’d better not!)
The script for my entry video came from my genuine convictions that nothing will come before caring for my family. I do what I do TO care for my family.
Fitness, for me, has so little to do with what I look like in a swim suit. To have the strength to carry my son, to hold him for intensely long amounts of time, to have the endurance to meet his needs, as well as care for the remainder of my home without the rest and food I needed…there is no way I could have done that without being healthy and strong.
Fitness is NOT my biggest priority, rather it is a means to another end, caring for those I love most.
In case you missed it, the link to my Labrada entry video is here. My brother and I filmed this to enter the 2015 Labrada Spokesmodel Competition. He did such a wonderful job capturing a day in the life of the Wallace Family. And most certainly, check out my son’s rockin’ casts! 🙂