The cast is off. No, I'm not suffering from post-castum depression, but Jay isn't too sure. When he saw my bare leg he asked, "Are you okay?"
I said yes, honey. I'm fine. My leg feels good.
"Is the purple cast okay?"
"The purple cast is all gone. I don't need it anymore. It helped my leg feel better, and now it is all done."
"Oh. Okay." The wheels were still turning, and I wanted to say more, but sometimes I need to shut up and let him process things for himself.
Later on, I put on my walking boot. It worried him. It has a bit of a "Transformer" look: black, bionic, and somewhat imposing. It's even bigger than the purple cast.
"Nooooo..., I don't like it."
I showed him that it has a pump (a la 1980's Reebok basketball shoes). We made silly pumping noises while he smacked the gray button. He found the dial to close and release the air chamber. We turned that back and forth, with accompanying robot noises. He giggled, and we are now good with The Boot. Anything that lets me pick him up more often is going to be good with him.
In the end, it doesn't really mark a big increase in what I can do. I can put weight on my heel for the next two weeks, followed by two more weeks of using the whole bottom of my foot. The Boot is here to stay for the next month or so.
Winter seems to be staying around for the foreseeable future as well. Daytime temps are in the low 20's this week, with overnight lows around zero, or below. The snow is turning gray, and consolidating into a dense, late-season pack that will take a long time to melt, should the weather decide to warm up at some point.
Last Thursday evening, Laura came in from feeding the horses to announce that there was no water coming from the frost-free hydrant at the horse shed. Since that time she has been filling gallon jugs at the house, piling them into the wheelbarrow, and hauling them down the ever-more-slippery-slope for the horses. It takes a good 8-12 gallons, twice a day, to complete the job.
We're unsure as of yet whether the handle on the hydrant broke after so many frozen nights, or, more likely, the water line has simply frozen underground. I can't really hobble down there yet. I may sneak out there next week, when I can walk more reliably, but I don't really want to take any risks at this point. We're dealing with it, but as the calendar has turned over from January to February, and now to March, it has been challenging to have no clear light at the end of the tunnel.
It will pass. The snow will melt, and the ground will thaw. The water will flow. While I expected the ground to clear and my legs to walk by late March or early April, It may take a bit longer. We'll need hay by then. We've been going through it faster than we would normally, since the extreme weather has required us to increase the horses' rations. This promises to be a mud season of epic proportions, when it finally arrives.
I will walk normally, hike with my son, run the trails, haul hay, pound fence posts, and cut and haul firewood this year. It is hard to imagine that right now, but it does no good to ponder what cannot be done in the moment. For now, we'll make the most of the situation, and be thankful that we have the resources to manage it all.
In the meantime, Jay's weeks will involve trips to library story time, tumbling classes, an occasional bouncy house, and a birthday party or two. We'll find some new music and new dance moves. We'll spend some "learning time", but in my short two-plus years at this, I've already seen what I suspected from the start. If we provide plenty of happy times, play, and social interaction, the learning happens all by itself.