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Broken Bones & Gray Hairs

Last weekend, I participated in the MS Muckfest–it’s an annual event I started participating in 5 years ago because one of my brothers is affected by MS. All the hot-muck-goopy-filth felt like an all-too-appropriate metaphor for life this year, but it also made me realize a few other things.

I know, I know… I’m not as young as I once was. None of us, as parents, are.

The fact that my son is a continual fountain of energy taught me just what those years meant–from the first moment he seemed to look into my eyes (with his first impish grin). He’s the never-stopping Energizer Bunny, if ever I saw him.

The event is important to me (and to my family), so I was thankful that I was able to participate. But, the last few days have also worked to remind me (in no uncertain terms) that I break. My son sees me as indestructible… a superhero… a person who can do anything.

Oh, how our children see us.  We seem larger then life. They don’t see us as the fragile, breakable, flawed beings we are.

The raw reality of the experience?

  • Hand-wrenching while descending a rope on the course = two broken finger!
  • I’ve earned a few extra gray hairs.
  • My son has an uncanny skill of hitting my broken fingers.

I know that the discomfort and awkwardness of breaking fingers is just a temporary situation. It will eventually improve (I’ve broken enough appendages to know that). But, I also want my kids to know that it’s important to follow-through, and to support the causes they believe in (no matter what the cost, or temporary discomforts).

Can’t Just Walk It Off

During these times, I’m reminded that sometimes it isn’t always great to pass on all the things we were programmed to think while we were growing up, by our dads. The one I speak of today is: Put dirt on it and walk it off.

So, with that thinking, I taped up my two damaged fingers, and carried on with the mud run, thinking I’d just jammed my fingers. I continued on with this way of thinking for 4 more days, finally realizing that maybe they just weren’t jammed, and my MacGyver-doctoring splint job wasn’t going to cut it.


So, I went to have it looked at by a real doctor (MD not PhD).  And, two fractures later, I found out that jammed and taping them, wasn’t “good enough.”

Life is Dirty… Giving Back

So, last weekend was fun, dirty and painful, but I wouldn’t change it all for the world. I have two broken fingers, a bruised ego; but, in the grand scheme of things, I will heal… I will go on to damage myself in all kinds of other ways.

I will be able to do things, many of which those with MS can not. So, until I am not able to any longer, I will run in the mud, as a simple way to give back.

In coming years, I hope that my son will run with me. We’ll get muddy and dirty together. It’s something I look forward to…

So what did we learn?

  • Don’t be afraid to get dirty…
  • Live in the moment
  • Time is fleeting… so don’t let the moments slip away (however painful)


About Don Jackson

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One comment

  1. Heather McKibbles'nBits

    Thank goodness you got a “real” doctor to look at your fingers! ;-P

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