On The Wound and The Healing

I was reaching back to hand Teyla her markers when I felt my thumbnail bend and then rip deep into the nail bed. Lightning pain. I gasped involuntarily and jerked my hand back to the front.

We were driving home to Minnesota after spending a week in Colorado, a week where we practically steeped ourselves in the goodness of family and friends and Americana. I had nail clippers in the back of the minivan, tucked away in my suitcase, but I couldn't reach it. So for the next hour, I nursed that broken nail and pulled at it gently to see if I could finish the job the marker case started.

It throbbed and my nail bed oozed. Finally, I worked up the courage to pull it off in one-fell swoop, to put an end to the suffering and get on with it.

But dang. That bad boy hurt.

My thumb has been tender the last four days, ever since we got home. Much like my heart. On one hand, it's wonderful to be back in Minnesota, to enjoy the glorious summer we earned enduring our too-long winter. I'm glad to be sleeping in my own bed again, I'm even more glad the kids are sleeping in their own beds again, and it feels right and good to be cooking in my own kitchen, doing my own laundry, even wedding my own garden again.

Home is a wonderful thing.

But after spending a week with my sister and brother-in-law and parents and watching my kids play with their cousins and remembering what it's like to live near family, my heart is a little tender.

I didn't grow up with extended family nearby, so I didn't grow up expecting to have my kids hang out at their grandparents on the weekends or have a cheering section of family present at every ball game. It was always just me, my parents and my siblings. There was a sweetness about it being just us.

But now that I'm older, I know that we missed out on that larger community of family. And I miss it for me, as an adult. I miss it for my kids.

So my heart is healing this week, in a place that's normally protected. The rawness is fading, and I know I'll adapt to life as it is, not as I wish it could be. The nail will grow back.

But it sure was fun enjoying it all sparkle, for a little while.


  1. Ouch! Hope your thumb heals as quickly as possible!

    I grew up seeing my extended family on a regular basis so it's been a big adjustment living in another state after 30 years of regular interactions. This weekend is the annual family reunion and I can't wait to catch up with everyone. It's hard to come back afterward but it makes me look forward to our next time together that much more. Glad you had a good time with your family!

  2. Nodding. I moved to Texas 30 some years ago as a 20-year-old, so I've been away from my family for most of my life and I missed out on seeing my niece and nephews grow up and have children of their own and I've missed nearly every family event. And that saddens me. I never miss Illinois but I do miss that I missed out on family stuff. Lovely post.

  3. I did the same thing to my thumb a couple of weeks ago - ripped it below the quick and it started bleeding, so I feel your pain. And the pain of detoxing from the fun of cousins. Sweet memories. And I think maybe your kids will grow up appreciating their cousins more than if they saw them all the time and took them for granted.

  4. I have had the same pain for 10 years. It is sometimes a fresh wound and sometimes just a dull ache like a scar, but the pain is always there. I hope your pain quickly "heals".

  5. I admit I feel sad about this too...and jealous at times too. Like you, those feelings are usually stirred after holidays and vacation. It's a hard tension. I feel ya, Kelly.

    SO thankful I was able to visit with you during your trip! Glad you're home safely and settling into summer!