Getting Back on the Horse

Daughter got thrown from the horse today during her riding lesson. It happens.

This time, I’m pretty sure her body went two or three feet up in the air before she went down. She landed flat on her back.

Luckily, the riding teacher is a nurse. She gave daughter the once-over–wiggle your fingers, your toes, shake your head, etc. Daughter was fine, but her back’ll smart later, no doubt.

The riding teacher’s mother was standing next to me. (She was working on the farm, and she likes to keep up with my daughter’s progress. Have I mentioned how much I cherish this family? Well, I do.) She shared some stories of watching her daughter/the riding teacher fall through the years. She was reassuring me that falling is a part of riding, and parents are going to witness that.

As we groomed the horse, the teacher asked me how I was. “Fine,” I answered.

But here’s the deal–I felt nothing. That’s the beauty of post-traumatic stress. I was preternaturally calm. I knew the teacher/nurse was the one to defer to if she was really hurt. If she really had been hurt, we would have acted. If she wasn’t hurt, there was no use in fretting. And so I did not fret. When I see her thrown like that, I immediately go into shock, which allows me to function, without worrying.

But the university shuts down? Or her play rehearsal schedule changes? Or the kitchen get too messy? I’m wont to buckle into a crying mess on the floor, prevented from doing so only by the watchful eyes of The Other Moms around me.

Therapist assures me that this tendency to check out when the kids have a health scare is a helpful mechanism. There’s so much for me to worry about, that I set aside the worries that aren’t really dangers. She is confident that if something bad happens, I’ll respond appropriately. I am learning how to filter. I’ll trust her, she’s a professional.

And I trust the horse teacher, who has taught my daughter–and me–to get back on the horse.

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One thought on “Getting Back on the Horse

  1. I so agree with your therapist. I’ve never thought of it as “checking out” though. I think of it as holding strong when you really need to project that image to your kids, to the world. There is always time later on to fall apart, if you need to, when the kids aren’t depending on you for their clues. Staying calm lets you evaluate the situation dispassionately so you can act appropriately in a true emergency.

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