If you’ve lived in this valley long enough, you know that the end of ski season means a few things – the beginning of construction season, or in my case and many others, re-construction season. Now is the time – between winter and summer sports – where knee replacements, MCLs, ACLs, and in my case, hip labrum tears are finally sutured together – in the hopes our bodies will hold up long enough to squeeze out a few more decades of pain-free fun.
I had anticipated my hip arthroscopy since realizing my joint wasn’t going to heal itself last Christmas, just as I was turning 45, which for me was prime midlife crisis. I had convinced myself that the injury was not just bad luck, but a symptom of a much larger issue – that my body was no longer dependable. It was a sign that I was officially aging, and I was never going to be strong enough to run, bike or hike long distances again.
The surgery at the beginning of April couldn’t have gone more smoothly (shout out to Dr. Phillipon and team) and by the time my husband and I returned home from Vail, my focus turned to healing – protecting what I had, getting stronger and biking long distances again.
But I couldn’t do it alone. Like so many, my blood relatives live thousands of miles away on the East Coast. I am not one who likes to ask for help, as I know every mom around here is already overwhelmed with her own life, family and career. But as if a magic wand was raised, when I returned home friends rallied around to support me, my husband and kids.
While we were gone, our boys had been housed and cared for by friends. Our dog, despite his midnight whining, was loved and cared for, too. Dinners for nearly two weeks were brought over by already time-deprived mothers relieving me from trying to figure out how to shop, crutch, cook and serve kids while standing on one leg.
I even received dinner from St. Peter’s of the Valley in Elk Run. When Father Will heard of my injury he tapped into the church freezer to bring us quiche made by its “Women Cooking” group. During its six years, the 25 or so volunteers who make up “Women Cooking” have made and shared more than 700 home-cooked meals for community members like me who are injured, sick or just having a hard time getting by.
It might not seem like much, but the collective generosity and kindness of this Mid-Valley community taught me, again, a valuable lesson: we are never alone and we cannot survive on our own. Sometimes we are vulnerable by circumstance, and as we age we become even more so. I hate to admit it, but this injury did give me a glimpse of how things might be, as our bodies, which seem so invincible now, will eventually weaken. But it also gave me insight into how the Mid-Valley takes care of its neighbors as family. And that is how communities are strengthened – perhaps it begins through the stomach, but eventually it finds its way to the heart.
Amiee White Beazley is a writer based in Basalt. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Travel + Leisure, Sunset, Coastal Living and many other publications. Learn more at awbeazley.com.