Joy, week 26 (or What I’ve Been Doing This Week)
It’s 10:20 p.m. and I have a house full of children who still won’t hold still and go to sleep. The girls are trying to negotiate terms under which they can sleep in alternate rooms tonight, and I’ll be honest: I don’t feel like a negotiating mom right now. I don’t even feel like a mom at all. I feel like I’m about 2.5 seconds away from turning into a wicked witch.
Ridiculous, I know. But true. Truthfully, I’m just super tired.
The week has been a blur of ice machines, pillows, medication, meals and small milestones.
This week my husband had reconstructive surgery on his knee. The damage was worse than the MRI showed, and they did a lot of work. The result? A stable knee which will heal just fine, but which will take longer than usual to heal. He can’t put any weight on it for 6 weeks. SO I kind of just became a one man show for the summer. This will definitely be a process. When I think that the ankle drama a few weeks ago kind of threw me off, I have to laugh at this because the ankle was nothing to this experience. He’s been a good patient, relatively easy to care for, patient and kind and grateful for my efforts. But he’s pretty trashed and I guess tonight it’s catching up with me. The nights have been hard and I haven’t slept more than 3 hours at a stretch for several days, but it’s an honor to do it and I’m grateful I can. I’m grateful he’s home and not in the hospital.
I’m grateful for a lot of things.
I’m grateful for how many people I’ve talked to because I’ve had countless opportunities to say aloud, “It’s going to be ok.” I’ve said it so much I believe it, even when I turn and walk away with tears pricking at my eyes. I just have to get stronger, and this is good for me. What choice do I have?
I’m grateful we’re all together, that our house hasn’t been eaten up by fire, that we have health insurance, that so many things are right. But because I’m so tired there’s a part of me tonight that whispers, “I want my life back.” I know all it means is “I need some sleep”, but it comes out in funny forms sometimes, like wishing for some other point in time when things felt steady. It hasn’t been a steady year. But then I have to laugh at myself and ask, “When did I have the sense to look around and think that THIS was the point I would want back at some future date? When have I ever been fully satisfied with how things were going right then?” When we’re in it, there’s always something more to do or wish for. So you blink a few times, check the clock, check the ice, check a million little things and then get ready to do it again.
So here’s what I’m learning:
1. I should have pursued a degree in Nursing.
2. When it’s hard to find things to be grateful for/happy about, you only have to look a little harder. It’s buried in there somewhere.
3. If someone in our family is going to break something, it WILL need surgery.
4. When you desperately need life to slow down but it doesn’t you can pause for a moment on little islands of calm. If you look around and notice everything in those moments, like the breeze in the tree above you or the smell of the honeysuckle or the sound of sprinklers in the distance or the taste of a perfect slice of watermelon, it helps.
5. Keep lots of 20 pound bags of ice in your freezer. You never know how many of them you might need.
6. If you happen to chip a large piece of cartilage (or two) off your femur in a biking crash, your surgeon can cut away more cartilage and drill holes in the bone to cause lots of bleeding in that area so your body can grow a form of replacement cartilage. I find that totally amazing. You just can’t walk while it’s happening.
7. Enjoy what’s going on right now, even if you’re on the verge of becoming a wicked witch. It’s all you’ve got and things can always get worse.
8. If your insurance company messes up the same thing FOUR times with a dozen different claims, just BREATHE. Keep breathing. And try to get the direct phone number to someone who works there who also has a brain.
9. If you tell your little children that you’re about to turn into a witch (thinking, of course, that they’ll figure it out and be quiet) it might backfire on you and cause them to WANT it to happen, just to witness the transformation.
10. Pray always. It really helps.
How’s that for variety?
So now that I dumped my frustrations here instead of jumping on my broom, I’ll just say that I did nothing at all this week to reach any of my goals. I just tried to get us through the week. I witnessed tender moments with some of my children and had a couple of moments when I was a really, really good, really effective parent. If only that part of me would take up permanent residence here! I got a bit of exercise, drank a lot of water and got to see two of my brothers and their families, as well as my sister and her husband this week. What a joy!
We took care of all the cherries before the surgery. It took all the children and I five hours in the kitchen to do it. We dehydrated and froze all of them for snacking and for future use. There was no time for jam or bottling.
So you see, life is wonderful. And even though I’m pretty sure I’ll NEVER list 2012 as a year I’d like to go back and relive, I hope I’m living it well enough that I can look back on it as a year in which I grew, a year when I improved in essentials, a year when I chose joy.
So I’m going to paste a smile on my face and go talk to those kids.
And then I’m going to figure out how to make the 4th of July a decent day in spite of what’s going on here. It’s my favorite day of the year and I usually do a lot of work for it. I’m not sure what, but I’ve got to do something to make it memorable (in a good way) or I might dissolve into a puddle of tears. We’ve been out of town around the 4th a lot in recent years and when we planned the summer I was so happy that we would be home for the 4th with nothing going on! Oh, I had big plans. It’s all working out great except for the nothing going on part. So I have a little re-working to do.
Have a great week!