Tag Archives: parenthood

Sparkly happy on a cloudy day TTOT #83

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Ten Things of Thankful

Well it is Wednesday before I have even started this post.
In my defense I have been really busy. There was playing with baby goats, and working, and walking and more working. Some house cleaning, some waiting on repair man. Oh and a parent teacher conference and that was just Sunday to Wednesday.

Honestly Monday was a crap day. Outside it was grey and dreary and foggy. In my head it was black and thundering and foggy too.

It is however my first item on my list of thankful’s. Being that it is now Wednesday and I can look back. I am thankful for the bad days because I can see how far I have come. They are just days now. Not weeks. Not months. Days. Sometimes there is no plural to that word, as in day!

Let’s back track a bit though. Sunday the besties were coming over and the house was a mess. Fast thinking as I am. Lets take some carrots and whatnot down and feed the goats. Easily we can spend enough time there and then walk to church. Oh had I only known how fantastic this would be. I would have brought instant hand sanitizer. We got to the goat pasture and they were penned up inside the pasture. However when we had walked by the barn we heard people talking. Let me just go and see if they will let the goats out. Farmer Brian did one better. He let the girls come back and go into the pen. He showed them how to pick them up after you pinned one down. Goat kids are pretty darn fast. The giggling, the petting, the naming of the babies. Oh so much fun was had. Farmer Brian even had a bit of an ulterior motive. He let the girls catch the ones he wanted to inspect. OOOOOOHHH the squeals! To be helpful and have fun. Well nothing beats that.  However it was a good ten minute walk and I felt like I must have said 100 times.Don’t touch your face. Keep your hands where I can see them. AS soon as we got to church they were marched into the bathroom for a good handwashing.  Despite our best efforts. We still brought goat poop to church on the bottom of our shoes.

Of course there are pictures. I will only share a collage instead of the 35 I took in twenty minutes! (thankful ten,I was still able to enjoy the girls joy and still feel I had adequately documented it for treasured memories later)

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Thankful two is this awesome project that has brought me so so so much happiness and mood boosts and joy already.

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Compassion has been something that I have been dwelling on more and more. When Lizzi tagged me in this project. I just can’t even describe how fast my brain said. THIS! Compassion for others and what they are going through.Compassion for myself. Giving myself just as much compassion as I would another. Just stopping and instead of instantly judging and being sassy and sarcastic to look at (fill in blank) with love and kindness. (Thankful nine is for perfect timing, a lesson I am still learning)

Thankful Three is a fantastic Parent teacher conference. I didn’t feel pressured to get my daughters learning disabilities diagnosed or to have her medicated.(thankful eight)  There was a free flow of communication and I really felt empowered leaving that conference.

Thankful four is a working dryer. Oh my gosh how much this makes me happy is ridiculous.

 This brings us to Thursday.

Oh look I forgot to fill this in,  but am too lazy to go back through and change the post.  Thursday I got to see two hawks rather close. They are so regal and gorgeous. They have a quiet look of arrogance that only a bird-of-prey can have.

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(Thankful Seven)

Friday…

The day I decided not to function to loose myself in the vampire diaries and go to my reading spot extra early.

I had clawed my way out of the dark stormy turmoil of Mondays brain and the weather seemed to mock Me. Here I was happy and content. It was grey overcast and foggy. I could sit in my parking spot look at the three trees feel the cool breeze and the baking feeling of the sun. As I sit crossed legged in my car with the windows down because fuck you hips and knees and ankles. Until it brings tears to my eyes to do it -I will sit how ever I want not how arthritis tells me to sit, even if I have to hand maneuver my limbs into place. I could appreciate the beauty. I could say, yes I know I am teetering on that edge. Several years earlier I would not have even realized I had wandered off the path let alone was lost. (thankful six)It doesn’t make the depression feel any less imposing. The problem with depression is it always wears you down…I know I will always have a day where I just can’t function. I don’t want to function so I have nothing to fight it with. I often know it is coming and fight to get it to a day where just maybe my world won’t fall apart if I don’t participate for a day. I can do all the deep breathing and meditation I want it just makes me sleepy but yet I won’t sleep. In the days before that no functioning day I feel myself grasping desperately at my self help tools. Sometimes I even feel them slip between my fingers despite my tight grip.they ooze through my fingers incredibly slick and slimey and smooth all at the same time.  That day of not functioning I read a lot of blogs. I read books I watch mindless TV. My thoughts don’t often bring me to tears. I have found I have to watch super sappy TV shows to cry to.There fore I am not crying for myself but for the TV show. Yes I am crying for those TV characters not myself. Perhaps if I could here and there cry I could avoid a no function day. That however did not happen so as odd as it may sound. I am thankful my nonfuctioning day came on a day I was able to be nonfunctioning. That is thankful five.

So now that I am only at five. Time to go through my week again,thus numbers that seem out of order-but are not.

The truth about flares

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I often get accused of being a chronic complainer.I don’t post how i feel for sympathy. Sometimes just seeing it in black and white helps me.  I just need to vomit it all out so I can move on. Its cathartic. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the comments.

Chronic illness is an asshole. Sometimes it makes me seem like an asshole. Most of the time in a flare I feel like I am being an asshole.
When I am resting I still feel like I am being lazy. I still think you are thinking I am being lazy. You can tell me all you want that you are not. When I have to cancel plans there is a part of me that feels I am just making an excuse. I know, if I went the pain would magnify. I know it.

Chronic illness makes your anxiety triple. Anxiety is an asshole too. Anxiety over what I do get done in a day. Anxiety over what I don’t get done in a day. Anxiety over what others are thinking about what I did today. Anxiety often makes me feel like I am being a complete wimp.
I feel ridiculous saying my skin hurts. Or any other body part that is acting up.
I feel like it’s an excuse even when I know the pain is too much to push through.Dishes have to get done ,I know that. It would seem standing doing dishes should be no big deal. Standing is a lot more work then we realize. There is a reason it takes babies so long to learn. There is a reason they get tired easily from it. If I do push myself my hips,knees and ankles blossom into painful bursts. If I keep pushing my hands will start to cramp up.  Have you ever tried to wash a plate and had your hand cramp. Most times I break the plate. It would make sense to stop doing the dishes before that happens. That is the thing though, the frustration, you don’t want to stop.

I am just as frustrated about my body flaring as you are, if not more. My brain is still functioning and often going a thousand miles a minute. I am thinking of all the things I need to get done. The things I should be doing. It is even more frustrating to feel somewhat okay while laying down yet, within five minutes of being up doing things, you are exhausted and often shaking.

I have a tendency to emotionally eat. Yes I know I shouldn’t eat that but sometimes emotions need to be fed. I do try very hard to balance my emotional eating with healthy eating. I do aim for that balance. I know full well I will pay for it later. Sometimes I feel it is worth it. Sometimes later when I am paying for it, I think I was being stupid. Just because I ate it yesterday or last week or last month doesn’t mean I can eat it during a flare. I could have eaten it yesterday and today it makes me want to vomit. I could have had it at lunch and my stomach tolerated it just fine. Eating it with dinner, not so much. It can be as small as garlic or lemon or as big as chicken. There is often no rhyme or reason to it.

So there it is the cold hard truth about flares and complaining.

Ebb and flow of parenting with chronic illness

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One thing that eludes me is consistency. Some of that is A.D.D., some of that is just life.  Chronic illness doesn’t really allow for consistency. It is super annoying.  It bleeds over into parenting. When my illnesses are flaring or acting up, I tend to slack off on parenting. I know I do this.I hate it.  I dislike how much TV she watches while I lay in bed. It takes energy I just do not have, to keep on top of her.  I want to always be that mom who is fully involved and happily multi tasking making dinner while the kid is doing homework. It is just not realistic for this to be happening daily though.

This morning  Actually it started the night before, we did homework for hours. Why hours? Because I was resting. She was supposed to be sitting at the table doing her homework. I could hear when she got off task. I made sure to point it out to her. When she was crying for like the fourth time I told her to pack it up. We would finish it in the morning. She is a horribly early morning child  anyway so why not. This lead her getting up an hour earlier than normal,because she was worried about not having enough time.  Between slurping coffee and getting really frustrated she is not focusing. The guilt starts. The guilt that I should have been more on top of this. I should have. I should have. I should have.  This is what goes through my head. I know on one hand, that I could have done things differently. Then again, she is nine. She is old enough to be responsible for her homework.

It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming. It’s not like I don’t know its due. It is more like, It just gets set aside in the hurry of every day. We set it aside because this came up or that came up. We set it aside because I am not feeling well,  we will do it tomorrow. I will feel better tomorrow because I rested today and I am going to take it easy tomorrow. That by the way never actually happens.  Then suddenly it is due tomorrow.

We get her homework packet Thursday after school. We pour over it like it’s the newest gossip magazine. Look how many pages of math! Oh, look you get to do this! I have an idea for that! We really do plan on tackling it. Thursday we are good about filling in her reading log, including the summary of what she read. We mark down what flashcards she did in Math. Friday, we normally have a family treat. However on the way there I normally make her read her book. There is a fifty-fifty chance it will get written down when we get home.   Saturday, sometime after I arise from the abyss of sleep, around eight am I look at her homework packet. We might even tackle some of it.  Then the outside is calling because it is fall in Florida. It is splendid weather outside. Not cold, not hot, windy but not windy to make it miserable.  In other-words, paradise. Sunday morning is out because church. The next thing I know its Monday. When I pick her up it’s all gusto. We are going to get it done. She reads. She does math. I am knee-deep in making dinner.  “Yeah I don’t care what you do. OUT of the Kitchen!” We have tomorrow. We will knock it out tomorrow. You get the picture.

Sometimes at the end of the day, I think “yup, nailed it today.” I got work done. I got the kid fed,to school-fed and in bed. I took time for me. Go Me! Then there are other days that at the end of the day. I think : ” Well breathing was really hard today.”

I think sometimes us chronic illness sufferers give the wrong impression about flares. Sometimes, it really is a flare and we never even saw it coming. We went to bed. We woke up having a new sympathy with road-kill. Most of the time though, it is not like that. I have weeks where I really feel on top of it. I have medicated at all the right times. I haven’t pushed the limits too far. I have eaten healthy and slept decent and taken personal time. Then it slowly starts off. By slowly I mean like from one day to the next. It just slowly one thing after another stops working. The medications are not as effective. I have more muscle aches than joint aches but I am still treating for the joint aches. Maybe what I did one week didn’t push the limits, so I do it again the following week. Uh oh. Limits reached and exceeded. What? I just did that!  I ran later than expected grocery shopping or cleaning so I had less me time in the car waiting to pick her up. It just slowly builds. Those kinds of flares are easier to recover from. It is like a light goes on and I am able to fix things. I start medicating  right. I give a little extra self-care. The times that it just WHAM! BAM! No thank you Ma’am. Those times we dread because so much of the time, we have to wait it out.  I can try to medicate. I can try to listen to my body and see if there is some craving it has. Most of the time, it is waiting though.

How do you parent when you feel like that? How do you parent when it’s not consistent?

You learn to go with the ebb and flow of your illness’. You learn to ebb and flow parenting. You learn to take advantage of when you do feel good.

I am still working on it.

I am nine years old!

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Today was my due date. August 11th 2005.  By that time though I had already been a new mom for eleven days. I knew early in the second trimester I was not going to make it to that date. By the beginning of the third trimester induction was scheduled for August 1st.

It still amazes me that even nine years later how I can pick her out. We went to Epcot and Fort Wilderness for her birthday. I momentarily would loose eye contact with her at the pool.  I marveled at my ability to ” nope thats not her,scan scan. there she is”  All I had seen was a foot kicking. I knew that foot. I knew every detail of that foot. Even from the lounge chair twenty feet from the pool, I knew that foot. She would come up and snuggle and my hand on the back of her head. I still felt that newborn head. Every ridge and bump and divet.. I knew that head.  If I closed my eyes holding that nine year old head I can still smell that baby smell.  Her skin while not quite as dewy soft still feels the same. It still has the same glow.

I used to hear others say these kinds of things and I thought ” how do they just know”? There really isn’t an answer to that other than, you just do.

I have written about her birth, I have done a year in review, so this year I wasn’t going to do any kind of blog post about her turning nine.

Then I walked out of my bedroom to see on the freezer the little white board we use to leave messages. I AM NINE YEARS OLD.

Yes. Yes you are. To her this is THE greatest thing ever! For the last year she has counted down to being nine. People would ask her how old she was. Eight and one fourth, Eight and half, Eight and three quarters. At one point her and Daddy even tried to figure it out when she was down to two weeks away.

 So it seemed wrong to not do some kind of reflection post…… then I went to the pictures. I seriously have easily three thousand pictures per year. She is nine years old. IT was not a small job. Even still I still don’t feel I took enough pictures. I still see gaps in my picture taking.  It was almost like I had realized I hadn’t taken pictures for a few weeks and suddenly there was a few hundred.  It is also all very unorganized. A task that I would like done but, not going to happen any time soon.

I tried to find pictures that really bring through her personality as it developed. I am rather pleased with it. Even if I can’t find pictures of her fifth birthday. They are around some where. Also I think I only printed out her first birthday pictures. It is also entirely possible they are on some other disk, or sd card I never uploaded. The elmo cake is her second birthday.

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 I am still not ready for her to be nine.

The idea of pain relief

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Its been… um.. let me think… Seven years? I think. It all runs together. I no longer remember not being chronically sick or dealing with Chronic pain.

Once upon a time I was taking prescription level strength pain medications. Now I get over the counter pain relief medications.

Now I laugh when I see them call them pain relief.

Oh honey aren’t you cute. Its more of a pain dampener. Its like after the mind numbing silence someone turns on static and you think well this is nice. But then it fades and the static gets quieter and we are back. Sometimes it doesn’t even do that.

I know I have an amazing ability to push it aside most of the time. For me, most of the time it is mind over matter. Meditation has gone a long long long way to help me here. If I am in motion I am less likely to notice it. It is so much easier for me to stay in motion once I start. To just go from one thing to the next.If I let myself rest , I feel it. I don’t want to start again. This is part of the reason mornings are so difficult. Its that initial get in motion activity that is so hard to do.

I have too many sensory issues to use much in the way of creams or gels during the day. As hard as it is to believe the sensation that the cream or gel creates is more distracting to me than the actual pain.  Same with pain patches and what not. Sure I could go through the hoops and motions and get back on Lortab or something similar. The question remains though, at what cost? They were making my health deteriorate faster and with a family history of drug dependence and abuse, I am more comfortable not being on them.

In the end this means I spend a lot of time at the end of the day getting out of pain. I take Tumeric and ginger during the day for the pain and it does help. At night I often flop between aspirin and Tylenol, ice packs, epsom salt baths and sometimes even massage.

Everyone has to do what is right for them when it comes to pain management.  For awhile , for me, it was prescription medications. For now , for me, this is how I manage. It will change again. I know it will. That is one thing this journey has taught me. Pain management is all about change because our body has this wonderful way of adapting to  pain. We become tolerant of the level of pain. We become tolerant to the type of pain relief we are using.  Had anyone told me that I would tolerate a pain level of five as my normal pain level on any given day when I first started. I would have laughed until I cried.  Had they told anyone that when I rate my pain a three I consider it a really really good day. ……  The pain can only be pushed aside so much before it demands to be felt. I probably would have told them to keep the drugs coming, I don’t want to feel that.

Never a normal doctors appointment

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Friday mornings are my roughest. I am so ready for the sleeping in on Saturday morning that sometimes happens. If it doesn’t happen the staying in bed a little longer happens. Most of the time.  Having a doctors appointment on a friday morning seemed like a good idea. I am not sure why. I know how rough I am. I got the kid out the door and to school on time. I headed to the doctors office right away because traffic is still horrible here. The tourist and snowbirds are slowly going back home…..slowly.

This was a review bloodwork and make sure my medications were all still okay. I was seeing the nurse practitioner because of a schedule conflict the doctor had. Because I can never just be a cut and dry case of ANYTHING…… my magnesium and potassium are still fluctuating still on the low side….and my thyroid is off…also on the low side…but the hashimotos study and the antibody study came back completely normal. This makes perfect sense to me, because I am used to this kind of thing. The Doctors were a bit perplexed. As I have a heart condition as well and am on medication for that, she is a bit hesitant to start thyroid medication. My heart condition is fairly well controlled with medication, however that does not mean we should take risks. If we do start medication it will be with an event monitor to make sure that I don’t have any SVT episodes(read my heart goes wacko, arrhythmia). For now we are doing thyroid level checks every three months and checking the antibodies every six months.

She was incredibly pleased with my progress on loosing weight and walking. Both of these will in the long run also help my thyroid along with my heart and other things. The progress is also why she was hesitant to start thyroid medications, afraid it will affect my heart and set me back walking and weight loss wise. We discussed diet and how juicing is helping. She was a little bothered that I only drink juice in the morning for breakfast and water. I am not a breakfast person. Unless breakfast is at ten or eleven am. She said she would like to see some grains introduced into my breakfast but since I was getting such packed nutrition from the juice she was not going to push it.  I have cut back my soda and coffee and that too will only continue to help. I told her there is one thing I do , do……the week before my period. I go with what I want, not necessarily what is healthy. We also discussed the once a week frozen yogurt. She said she wasn’t concerned because it was frozen yogurt first of all and the amount of fresh fruit I add was enough she felt the hot fudge and carob chips were an okay splurge. 

I was on prednisone for several years. During that time I had issues with skin scarring and keeping my skin moisturized enough. When I went off it , it slowly got better and went away. It is back. However she was not concerned that it was a new thing. It can take several years for skin to return to normal and will take intensive moisturizing treatments. Oh more fun. I am so horrible at remembering to do this, plus my OCD hates the texture of most of the lotion and creams.

While my magnesium and potassium oh and vitamin D levels are just slightly below level, we are still gonna keep an eye on those too. Its a relief to know that I am not taking too much because the levels I take are fairly high. It concerns me. However my body just doesn’t seem to like to hold on to those things.  Malabsorption is so tricky. Sometimes I absorb things great. Other times not so great. There is constant adjustments needed.

We then discussed the upcoming trip in August to Epcot and camping. She doesn’t see it being a problem for a low dose muscle relaxer for a week. It is one less thing for me to worry about. I can work on progress with distance in my walking. It will help with endurance. Camping and keeping up to an excited nine year old will be hard. This is just a little edge off at night to keep me going for four days.

After such a good doctor visit and leaving so pumped. I treated myself to Starbucks. Just a single shot espresso. I add sugar to it and it reminds me of Cuban coffee I used to get with my Dad. Its a nice warm fuzzy memory to set the rest of my day with. Not to mention the boost of energy and possibly being productive with housework today!

Must be nice to lay in bed all day

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I think this is the number one comment that drives me nuts.It must be nice to lay in bed all day…to stay in bed…..and things to that effect. If you are just lazying about and can get up and down whenever you want without the slightest hindrance…..maybe. If you have no problem being upright when you need to move because you are getting sore from laying in the same position…..maybe.If that is all you are planning on doing and you are pushing things aside because you WANT to …..maybe.

I really struggle with the whole resting part of chronic illness. I know I need to. I know my flares would be less. I just have never been very good at doing nothing. I struggled for awhile trying to balance not working , saving energy to parent after school and having a life. If I stay home and rest, it is really hard to get up and moving after getting the kid because I expelled more energy than I realized trying to rest. I am home so I should be doing dishes, or laundry, or getting the kid’s room organized again. Maybe I could reorganize the pantry. I could even sit in a chair for most of it. For the record that is not resting.  I can’t sleep during the day if I want to be able to sleep at night, so a nap is out of the question.

When I do force myself to take a rest day and stay in bed. It helps. Imagine that. It may take me eighteen hours or so of resting to be able to function again but I can function again! The trick is not to go crazy and clean the house and do to much and exhaust myself all over again. This is where pacing comes in , another area that I am not so good at.

It is a constant battle though to keep myself in bed because I know thats what my body needs. The guilt starts to eat at you that the house is falling apart. That you can’t keep up the house because your body requires so much rest. If I did clean the house and push myself then I often have nothing left to do anything with my daughter after school, again the guilt.

When I say I need to stay in bed all day, it is not a luxury. It is a requirement. It is not one that I admit to and concede to often. When I do it is serious. I have probably pushed myself for too many days in a row.  I am better at forcing myself to take these rest times or days. I still have progress to be made here.  I still need to let go of the guilt. I still need to stop while I am ahead. When people say this to me I struggle to be nonchalant about it. I try to just shrug it off and not let them know how hard it is.

When Judgement invades

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Stop.

Just stop.

Stop assuming you know what my life is like. Stop assuming because I don’t work that I have time for everything to get done.

It came in a seemingly innocent conversation with my daughter. Something a teacher had said to her. A teacher I have had issues with her making assumptions about me before. She said I should be matching her socks and she was tired of seeing my daughter wear mix matched socks. First of all ,  that is not how I raise my child. She is free to express her fashion sense in anyway she choose. Kids have so few truly independent choices, I choose to let her wear what she wishes. Second of all, how dare you try to to push my daughters creativity and her general self confidence down. Because whether that was the intent or not, it is exactly what happened.

I responded to my daughter and said, I don’t match your socks because I love your sense of fashion and you can wear your clothes how ever you choose. Her face broke out in a big smile and she threw her arms around me and kissed me.  How dare that teacher crush my daughter in even a seemingly insignificant way.

I am tired of people assuming what I should and shouldn’t be doing, how I should or shouldn’t be raising my child. It should not bother me but it does.

I walked off my frustration and cleared my head of this to a certain extent.

Why can’t people just love? Why?

Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.

If only that was true.

I look like a healthy thirty something mother who is choosing to stay at home, but I am not.  Its always hard to see the judgement in others eyes when you tell them you have multiple chronic illnesses.  If only degenerative disc disease had some outer detail. You can’t see it, but I can feel it. I wish I couldn’t. If only all the aspects of Fibromyalgia were visible to the naked eye.

The world screams to conform to what is socially acceptable. Chronic illness is not socially acceptable. That is the cold hard truth and until it is accepted, judgement is a fact of life for us. Something that is often dealt with on a daily basis.

 

 

Remembering that you just made a DNA contribution

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I scheduled a parent teacher conference. I found that it helps me stay on top of her school work if I am touching base every semester with her teachers. I am not good at consistency. I know that. I have found ways to compensate for this, scheduling frequent parent teacher conferences is one of them.

It is hard to remember that yes my daughter gets somethings from me, somethings from her father, and then there is a part that is just her. Its hard to remember that she is going to have traits that are just her. Who knows , maybe my great great great great great grandmother had this trait. There are somethings I understand where she is coming from, there are plenty more that I am completely lost on.

It does make it harder to problem solve when she has issues in school that are exactly the same as mine. It makes me more apt to just say hmm yes I have the problem too. I want her to go beyond what I did though. I struggled through a lot of my elementary school years. It was not until I had that magic teacher who just got me and broke through.

It is annoying when it is something she gets from her father. Something that frustrates me about her father is he is incredibly brilliant(you have to be to purposefully fail an IQ entrance test by one point). It is just something that is for them. I worked and sweated and studied to get a 138 in my IQ test. Her father was barely paying attention and got a 140.

Its hard to look at her and not see some part of myself or her father. Sometimes that makes it easier to forget she is her own person.  As hard as we try to guide our children to be better than we are. To succeed where we have failed. To mold them into confident successful people. It is easy to blow off the parts that are our biggest flaws. Don’t discount that other half of the DNA. Maybe that is all she needs to get over the hurdles that stood in my way.

It is hard to not sit here and think, where did I go wrong, how did I not see this coming? I know she gets her A.D.D from me. No matter that I tried to give her every advantage so that it would not be an issue. It seemed like it had been working. It is so easy for me to see it only as a hindrance to her. It took me years to see my A.D.D as a benefit and not a curse. To work past all the negative feedback I got from teachers and even employers. If only you could focus……If only you followed through all the time on everything….. It took me years to figure out how to make it work for me instead of against me.

By scheduling frequent parent teacher conferences we can work together as a unit to make her  a better student. One of the things that she has in her favor that I did is a Montessori school.  The part I love the most is work partners. It seems she is finally understanding that in picking a work partner she needs to pick someone who lifts her up. Picking someone who has strengths in her weaknesses and finding out that her strengths may be there weakness, they both win here.  I firmly believe that the Montessori learning environment will give her the edge I didn’t have.

Now to shed this guilt that I did something wrong. To remind myself that I made the DNA contribution but she is her own person and not everything that happens to her is my fault. To remind myself that just because she inherits something from me gene wise does not mean she will be just like me. Easier said than done. Mommy guilt does not let go easily.

When was the last time you….

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Stopped to smell the roses. Wait, no I am serious.

As parents we have a unique chance to always enjoy the little things. We just have to remember what it is like to be a child, when everything is new and wonderful.

Does it really take that much out of our day to

……Stop and smile as you watch a butterfly flit around.

…….splash in a puddle or two after the rain.

…….wore something just because it made you happy.

I find that when the pain is the worst or the most annoying that if I focus in on what my daughter is involved in, the pain isn’t as bad. It may mean that I have to get down on her level. Let’s worry about getting back up when it comes time.  Sometimes with chronic pain and parenthood we are so focused on doing that we forget to just ….be. That it’s okay to slow down. Sometimes just acknowledging that I am in a lot of pain and to slow down is enough to lessen it.

One of the joys in my life right now, is that I am an auntie and a family friend to enough other kids that I have my pick of age ranges. I can immerse myself in the infant stage or just chill with some eight year olds. If I am feeling really adventurous I even have a teenager or two I could annoy. I regularly get to enjoy my friends five year old as I help out by taking her to Tae Kwon Do. I am so immersed in the life of a parent of an eight year old that I forget what five was like.  Sometimes it is not that thrilling. I completely forgot how at five my daughter was slow as molasses on doing ….well….anything. I forget how determined to do it themselves they are at one.  I forget how exciting and perplexing a bird is to a nine month old.

Its amazing to me how much even just five minutes focusing on them can help sort us out. The pain is a bit more manageable, the stress is still there its just less. Does it always work? Nope. If I am really honest with myself though, its because I have not been slowing down enough. It is because I am trying to do everything all at once. There is so much guilt associated with being a parent who is in chronic pain that we tend to push our limits, all the time. It doesn’t help us. This is something I work at remembering every day.

When was the last time you……..

Sat in the grass and examined it for bugs?

pulled a part a flower to see what is inside?

stopped to blow on a dandelion?

took delight in watching the birds fly around?

As I think about the last five years dealing with chronic pain and parenthood. There were times that it was so easy to ignore everything around me and focus on the pain. It has been a slow  journey to find myself again. The things that stand out in my mind are when I was basically hyper focusing on my child/family instead of my issues. Unplanned moments that just stick out in my mind.  Will my daughter look back and see a parent in pain or a parent involved?

I hope and strive for a parent involved.