I had our summer all figured out. In fact, just a few days ago, I congratulated myself for being so organized. (Real-life foreshadowing.) It was going to be a wonderful three months.

I finally had a system for storing our pool and beach gear in one bag that was ready to go at a moment’s notice. All three boys — even Owen who was afraid of water for six years — were in swimming lessons and enjoying it. I had stockpiled sunscreen and bug spray. Our vacations and plans for family members to come visit had all been arranged. At the beach even, I had a nice setup for lounging in a chair next to Lindell playing in the shallow water while still keeping an eye on Ford and Owen playing on the floating dock. In fact, I had decided that the summer was going to pass too quickly.

Then Lindell, 3, broke his foot last Monday. Don’t bother asking how he broke it. All we know is that he was playing “Ring Around the Rosie” with friends and, in his words, “we all fall down.”

It’s a wonder that this is the first time one of my children has broken a bone. I have broken my foot, ankle and elbow. In each case, like Lindell, I have no exceptional story. I’d like to say I broke my ankle jumping out of a burning building, but the truth is that I jumped off my piano teacher’s front porch, which was only about 6 inches high. I broke my elbow when I tripped over a baby gate. As for my foot, well, it was six weeks before my wedding and I was out with my bridesmaids. It is the most humorous, if not exciting, story of them all. Still, I wasn’t escaping danger or rescuing injured animals.

According to the doctor, Lindell will have a cast for “six to eight weeks,” or, basically, the rest of the summer. No more lake. No more swim lessons. No more vacations. And because Lindell is so young and small, he won’t get crutches either. His dad and I are his new crutches. If you ever thought 3-year-olds were demanding and require lots of attention, imagine being around one who can’t move himself from the kitchen to the living room. More on this later.

Lindell’s older brothers, Ford, 9, and Owen, 7, have been a great help. At the walk-in clinic, Ford held Lindell’s hand and rubbed the hair away from his eyes. He was stoic and protective, and he asked many questions of the doctor. Owen was the only person in the room who cried. Tears streamed from his red, puffy eyes as he worried about his younger brother and everyone else who was sick or hurt in the waiting room. Owen is like an emotion sponge; he soaks up all the sadness and fear around him and then wrings it out in the form of silent tears.

On the way home from seeing the doctor, we stopped at Toys R Us to buy nonactive toys for Lindell to pass the time. You know the older siblings are experiencing sympathy when they select a board game called Diggity Dog and promise to play it “as many times as you want, Lindell.”

I spent too much money on toys that day. Some of this might have been due to my guilt. Monday night, when Lindell started complaining about his foot, I thought he was faking it. There was no swelling, and he wasn’t crying. Then, on Tuesday morning, he got out of bed and screamed when he put his foot down. This reminded me of the time I gouged my leg on my parents’ back porch, and when I went inside and asked my mom for water, she said, “You have two legs; come in here and get it yourself.” The nickel-sized scar on my right shin is Mom’s permanent reminder that parents don’t always have the correct first answer.

But back to our Toys R Us shopping spree. I wanted to buy fun toys to occupy Lindell while he is laid up. Coloring books, board games and puzzles were obvious choices. However, I knew he’d soon grow tired of these. I wandered the aisles looking for something else. As I picked up boxes and considered them, I realized just how few toys are suitable for a child who cannot move. We didn’t even bother going through the sports and outdoor-fun sections. Even some of the board games require standing and movement. For a moment, I realized what mothers of children with special needs face every day. On a very small scale, I experienced the sadness they must feel for a child who will never pedal a bike, play Twister, or stand at a plastic kitchen and make pretend lemonade.

Yes, our summer has hit a bump in the road. But Lindell’s foot will heal. He will be running and playing by September. With this perspective in mind, I know we can manage the next eight weeks.

Maine author and columnist Sarah Smiley’s writing is syndicated weekly to publications across the country. She and her husband, Dustin, live with their three sons in Bangor. She may be reached at sarah@sarahsmiley.com.