There are some days, where everything just works. The stars align, the gods shine down on me and every bit of karma is sent my way as everything I touch feels natural and takes place with ease and grace.
Ok, ok… so that doesn’t really happen.
But there are some pretty damn good days.
Then, in contrast, there are those days in between, where I have to grab myself by the collar, lift myself out of bed and literally drag myself into living. It isn’t a lack of interest or desire to participate in my life. I love my life, and everything and everyone in it. Every part actually, even the stressful and frustrating ones.
Today the limitation that overwhelmed me was fatigue. I couldn’t devote the time to getting enough sleep to function well because my priority was getting to my four year daughers’ old’s Fiesta parade at school. I would have to be physically restrained to miss THAT.
How much sweeter can you get than a group of disheveled toddlers parading around the playground in multicolored, handmade paper Fiesta costumes (my Aria’s class were flowers, with paper petals around their necks), pulling handmade shoebox floats behind them (that the parents spent countless hours trying to assemble, because everyone knows at this age those fine motor skills are not quite there yet), being serenaded by marching band music while their proud parents and grandparents throw gobs of confetti on their little heads. Come on! There is nothing on earth that could keep me from missing that!
Not only is this a level of cuteness that surpasses my internal resistance for all things cute and related to my kids, but there is this other thing that pushes me forward, and it is the fact that I have to daily choose to let opportunities for involvement fall to the side. I can’t be a part of making sure that my pretty little girls have their hair fixed for school in the morning because I have to rest during this time. I now have to have my youngest daughter in school 5 days a week, full time, in order to give her the stimulation that she needs (that I can no longer provide) and so that I can rest and be a part of SOME of her day when she returns home from school that afternoon. I have had to let go of coordinating social plans for my “tween” daughter because I can’t always be depended on to communicate with the moms, drop off/pick up, or of course plan and participate in whatever activity is at hand. School functions are usually not an option, and the level of independence that my eleven year old has developed in order to keep up with papers to sign, projects to done, dates to remember, when she needs supplies for school or has outgrown her shoes, is a constant reminder of what has developed as a result of my illness. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are not suffering and I do know that we have all grown a lot through this experience. I have the most (no really, I challenge you… he’s THE MOST) devoted husband that there is, absolutely smothering these little girls (and myself)with love, and handling every practical need that they have, while cramming his work in around that. I do not have any false impressions of their quality of life… but… I’m still a mom, and even though I see that there are very obvious restrictions that prevent me from doing all of the “normal” mom things and despite the evidence that my reach is substantially expanded when I take these extra measures to take care of myself; in the back of my mind… the goal to be “normal” and to be involved still pulls at me every single day.
So back to my morning… and fatigue… and uber cute flower petaled four year olds that thrive on having confetti thrown on them…
My alarm went off and I knew it would be hard… but I didn’t realize how hard. I set my alarm for the very minimum amount of time that it would take for me to get ready. After it went off, I proceeded to fall back asleep on and off for about 15 min without even realizing it. I finally, (very incoherently) called my husband who was at the office and proceeded to cry to him like a kid begging to be to stay in home from school to avoid a test. I didn’t want him to talk me out of going. I didn’t want or expect him to miss work… again… I just wanted to break down, complain, and whine about how hard it was, for a few minutes before sucking it up and making it happen.
I managed to finish getting ready and even found myself falling asleep while washing my hair and then while I was drying it, but I was dressed and ready (though not at all going to get any award or recognition as “most fashionable mom” in my tank tops and flip flops), and I felt fairly confident that I could stay awake on the drive to my daughter’s school. I checked the time and I had the whole of 5 minutes to make the 10 to 15 minute drive. I kept moving, blubbering and crying the entire way because I just wasn’t able to shake the picture from my mind of my little flower walking out and looking for mommy (who said she would be there), and not finding her. Ugh.
But I got there, still awake, and the parade was running late, thank the Lord. The super sweet school music teacher came over to say hello and asked me how I was doing and… for about the 10th time on this emotion filled morning, once again… I broke down. On the playground. In the middle of a parade, surrounded by eager, smiling, (seemingly especially together and nicely dressed this morning) parents and grandparents. The lack of sleep, combined with my guilting myself all morning had me to the point of brimming over. I had spent the morning repeatedly lamenting in my mind about all the things that I HAVE to miss on a regular basis and how absolutely crappy it would feel to miss this. So, I made my way to the school bathroom with my dark sunglasses on and sobbed for a few minutes, then cleaned myself up to the best of my ability and headed back out to join the other families who were anxiously awaiting their little ones.
And of course, it was wonderful. I was still feeling horrible, but the minute that my sweet girl saw me as she marched with her class, she gave the sweetest smile (from under her flower hat that was covering all but her nose and mouth) and ran off of the sidewalk away from the rest of her class and gave me a huge hug before she continued her proud march. And there it was… aaah. This is what the fight is for. I don’t have the physical stamina to fight in this way every day, but learning to identify those short, but life impacting moments that make it completely worth throwing out the entire rest of my productivity for the day, has become something that I have trained my eye for. And this was another one of those moments.
We spent the rest of the afternoon with myself editing photos that have an approaching deadline, and with my tired, confetti covered girl cuddled up next to me, both of us under a blanket on the couch, watching Barney. No big, amazing agenda because I know better than that, but just being ok with the fact that we were making it through this day, and that I got that hug and to see my baby girls’ eyes light up this morning.
Hours later I found myself sopping up water on the kids’ bathroom floor and plunging an overflowing toilet, while listening to my four year old quickly spitting out an explanation for the situation.
In her words…
“Mom, that was a LOT of toilet paper. I had to have a lot. E’cause, well… I wanted to be Rapunzel.”
Say no more. I had a perfectly clear picture in my mind of my imaginative little princess unraveling an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper and wrapping it around her head to aid in the visual as she was pretending to be Rapunzel and that her hair flowed to the floor. When she was done pretending, of course, as any clever little princess would do, she quickly disposed of the evidence and proceeded to stuff the tissue into the toilet and flush repeatedly. As I took care of the situation, I explained to her why this isn’t the best idea to repeat in the future, but all I could think in my heart was…
“My cup Overflows.”
Sometimes it does so in the most unusual and unorthodox ways. Sometimes it is as I am stumbling through a day with my mind completely cloudy and having a melt down on a playground filled with marching four year olds, and even when I am on the floor (which is a feat in itself) frantically trying to shut off the water and soaking my clothes with toilet water brought to me by Rapunzel herself.
Wow. Two of those “magic moments” in one day. I can do this. I can do this.