I’ve been going, going, going of late – over committed and under energized but still propelling myself forward in an attempt to get it all accomplished. Then, FWAP, I slammed into an invisible wall that not only knocked me down but has kept me down for hours than days at a time. Each time it makes me take stock and try to put into perspective what’s most important and to me that is family. But part of being over committed is trying to do so much for my family, especially my son.
Larry and I have always been present and active participants in Joey’s endeavors. We’ve coached and managed his baseball teams. I’ve taken leadership roles within his Cub Scout Pack. I volunteer each and every year in his classroom. And in all of these endeavors and more I find that I am always the parent who is the one to say “yes” when asked because the other parents aren’t able or willing to step up. I don’t understand this especially since I was raised in a single parent household with my mom working full-time and then some and yet she still managed to participate in Girl Scouts to some degree or another, helped coach my basketball team in an unofficial capacity, always took my friends and I on the first picnic of the year and allowed us to hold weekly dances in our garage. She did all of this while working 60 plus hours a week. As a result I have great memories that I made with her during my childhood adventures. I want that for my son too though I’m finding with Fibromyalgia that is more difficult to accomplish. I end up saying yes to way to much and then find myself resentful and frustrated that the other parents aren’t doing their parts. I run myself ragged and then like I said, FWAP, I’m up against an invisible wall that I can seem to climb or go around. It makes me really resentful of my Fibromyalgia even though I know that simply because I have this condition I am able to be around more for my son even if it’s just hanging at the house, having movie days in bed on my really bad days or reading stories together.
So I have to ask myself, “How can I stop going so fast in a forward direction that it allows me to coast around that wall rather than slamming into it?”. You’d think it would be simple enough to do, simply say “No” but I find that so difficult when I know it impacts my sons joy, or my husbands. And yet if I did say that two letter word more often it would allow me to have more joy in my life, more time to savor the best parts that make up my life.
I looked back on the past week and wondered to myself, when did I get so crazy? I mean I know I have this illness, that doing to much to quickly will send me into a flare and yet when it comes to life I seem to be hurtling full speed ahead. This is what my week looked like: Saturday – All day adoption class; Sunday – Ran an e-waste donation site for my sons Cub Scouts pack and pulled the weeds in my front yard; Monday – Did an art project with my sons class and participated in a Girl Scout fundraiser at the skating rink; Tuesday – Ran errands for Joey’s class and took him to his baseball game; Wednesday – Worked at my son’s school; Thursday – Helped at my sons field trip, and then that evening took my son for team pictures and baseball practice followed by a mad dash to his Cub Scout pack meeting; Friday – To tired to do anything other than take and pick up my son and neighbor from school. Yes all that while in pain and most days to tired to think clearly and yet I went forward.
I’m hoping the crazy days of April will slowly melt into the gentle rhythm of May but I know it won’t. One more month of school with final projects and open house and year-end parties and homework, homework, homework. All of it taking up my time and devouring my energy. More baseball practices and games and a team party. Again swallowing my energy whole. And Cub Scout meetings that seep into the evening hours when I am at my foggiest. All of it too much and at the same time not enough. I want my son to have great memories of his childhood and I don’t want to miss a second of it. I want to see every double that he hits, watch him help lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the City Council meeting, help to make his classroom experiences be the best they can be. But all of that comes at a price. I’m left with nothing, no energy or focus and in its place mind numbing pain that seems to affect every part of my body like an alien body snatcher leaving me at less than myself. Less than I want to be and yet I keep taking a step forward and then another. Crazy? You bet, crazy for my family, for everyday adventures, for the possibilities that each day brings.
Isn’t it amazing what our bodies can endure? Every morning it’s a challenge just to get out of bed. I have to move slowly, stretch out each part of limbs and my back before even getting into a seated position on the side of the bed and yet I do. I often make the mistake of assuming that whatever aches and pains I’m experiencing are just the result of my Fibro. That’s not always the case. Eight years ago when I found out I was pregnant I was just about to go under the knife for a torn rotator cuff. I had tears in both but the right one was really affecting my quality of life. Because I was pregnant I put off the surgery. Then I had my Joey and I put it off because I didn’t want to restrict myself with being able to hold him, carry him, feed him. Then I just got busy with life as a new mom and set aside the thought of surgery at all. At least with all the cuddle time I wasn’t lifting much other than my baby and I think that allowed me time to heal somewhat as the pain decreased. Now eight years later and it’s rearing it’s ugly head again.
The other day while out on an adventure we stopped to take pictures. At the end my guys gave me a hand getting up off the ground and in doing so my shoulder cried out in pain. I tried to shake it off. When I got home I went out to play some catch with Joey but only after three throws I knew it was not a good idea. I thought to myself that I must have torn that rotator cuff even more. The hubby insisted I make a doctor’s appointment and so I did for this morning. Yesterday I took it easy as I didn’t want to do any more damage to myself and increase my pain level any more. However my sons blue eyes called out to me to play ball with him. I told him I couldn’t dashing his hopes in the process. I began to do stretches and rotations trying to ease the pain when all of a sudden I heard a very large “POP” and instantly my pain went down several notches. I think rather than tearing it more the boys must have pulled a little too hard and pulled it slightly out of the socket and with stretching I’d managed to put it back in place. As you can imagine I was relieved and I cancelled my doctor’s appointment for today.
Yes, I know I should of kept it as I know there is some tearing in there that really could use repair but I have a deep aversion to doctor’s with as often as I need to see them as a result of my Fibro. I know surgery to repair my rotator cuff could very well improve my mobility in that arm and yet I’m hesitant to under go any procedures that are going to cause me even more pain even if only in the immediate future and not long term.
When did I become so accepting of my aches and pains? To me this is my normal and so I don’t really give it any thought, I just do what needs to be done to have some joy in my day.
It’s amazing to me how a simple accident can bring back so many wonderful memories. This morning my husband was making my son and I tea and he accidentally started to add milk to my tea instead of our son’s. Nobiggee, I’ll still drink it. He brought it to me, all milky brown and steaming and as soon as I saw it I thought of my Grandma Queenie. With the first sip I was taken back to my elementary school days and coming home from school to hot (lukewarm) tea and cream puffs my grandma had made for me and all my friends. Each day would be a repeat of the same except the baked item would change. One day it’s cream puffs, the next apple strudel, then a pie of some sort and I think you get the idea. She made going to school, our “job”, seem worth all the effort in exchange for our tea parties. We each had our favorite tea-cup. Dawn and I would drink out of small matching ones covered in violets with our pinkies extended out. The cups themselves couldn’t have been any bigger than a Dixie cup but they were just perfect for our little hands. As we aged we moved up to normal sized tea cups with their matching saucer. I always chose the one with beautiful trees that were covered in pink blossoms. Just looking at it made me happy.
Having those afterschool tea parties made me happy, and my friends happy, and I believe made my grandma happy as well. We were her brood to look after; Dawn, Suzy, Michelle and I. The four musketeers and my grandma as our queen. She came and went in our lives living with us one year and back to her own home the next but when she was living with us the tea parties would resume and I’d add a friend here and there so that the group was always expanding. When we were old enough and she moved back to her home permanently then my friends and I would talk our parents into driving us up for the weekend to stay with her and as we progressed into getting our own drivers licenses you would find a group of us heading up to Clearlake and her house almost every weekend during the summer. And again you’d find us sitting around her kitchen table, picking out our favorite tea cups from her china hutch and drinking tea late into the evening, having a hen party as she liked to call it and munching on her delectable creations.
I feel like I have the whole world at my feet right now with infinite possibilities. Why you may ask? It’s officially Spring Break at my son’s elementary. We want to do everything – play dates with his friends, bowling, a little kite flying (if the wind will materialize), camping, baseball, a trip into San Francisco, etc. So many things and only one week to do it and did I mention that we have to do it on the cheap.
While I feel like the possibilities are endless I also have to be cognizant of my Fibro. If I go full throttle ahead this body of mine is going to eventually come to a complete standstill whether I want it to or not so pacing is the name of the game. We’ll be starting off low key – an adventure of some kind with Daddy. Perhaps a trip to the movie theatre to see Home followed by ice cream. Tomorrow is an unknown but am thinking either a play date with his buddy Caden or a trip into the city. Wednesday we’ve lined up bowling with his buddy Tommy in the afternoon and if the wind cooperates maybe a little kite flying in the morning. Thursday and Friday may be the perfect time to get in a couple of nights of camping returning home on Saturday and a day of rest for me. Sunday is Larry’s day off so am thinking we could head to the beach for a picnic and more kite flying. And if it’s in the budget I would love to do Six Flags on Monday before he has to return to school the next day. He and Larry both love the roller coasters and I love all the animals. It would be a pretty full week but with low-key activities so I think I could pull it off without to many repercussions.
I really dislike being limited by my body. It makes me mad and I have to stop and reassess just how lucky I am to be living this life, to have this time with my family. That life truly is good.
I’ve been absent for almost a year. Life went on, but I feel as though I was just wandering through and not paying as much attention as I should. It’s coming up on what would have been my mom’s 76th birthday this week, and almost the one year anniversary of her death. I look back and see all the wonder that she bestowed in my life, the skills and abilities to survive. And thrive, if I put in the effort.
It’s been hard. The stress of it all exacerbating my Fibromyalgia causing me additional aches and pains. And in the midst of it I realized that the pain meds, the short acting opiates, that had been helping me in the past had ceased to be affective. In this western world of medicine I live in I knew it would be tough to get my team of doctor’s on board with my desire to stop taking them and so I circumvented them altogether. Tapering myself off little by little like I knew they would have me do if I had included them in my decision. It took 10 weeks, with bouts of nausea and light headedness throughout but when I came out the other side I felt clear-headed for the first time in years. Some of the forgetfulness that I’d always attributed to my Fibro lifted and I was able to focus on my life, on what I wanted.
The first thing I had to do was to begin learning all over again how to pace myself. Accept that I can’t go full throttle all the time, heck even most of the time, but I could move forward if I paced myself. Little by little my house is becoming the home I’ve dreamed of. My involvement in Joey’s world has tripled, now not only volunteering at the school, but with Cub Scouts, and Daisies for my niece to be a part of the girl power movement, and baseball. This year I stepped back, we stepped back, and instead of coaching and managing we are simply parents rooting our son in a pastime that’s overflowing with fun.
I still find myself plagued by pain on a daily basis but it’s no better or worse without the pain meds. The only real difference is that I feel as though I’m taking my life back and making it into what I want it to be. In total, family. It’s what’s most important, the one thing that brings me constant joy and that is not something I just want to coast through. I want to be devoured by it, immersed in all it’s juicy details. So far I’m being pretty successful in that pursuit and it suits me to perfection. I’m back to dating my husband again and going on random adventures with Joey and in doing so, life goes on.
This topic comes up for me all the time and it is confusing to me. “What do you do?”. How does one answer that when they are a Homemaker – I’m a chauffeur, a cook, a baseball manager, a sometimes writer, a teacher, a laundress, a domestic engineer, etc. I am not one thing so how does one fill in the blanks or do I just leave the space empty? I mean seriously it is a confusing question. When I answer Homemaker people generally follow-up with “But what do you do?”. What do they mean by that? Is Homemaker not enough? I am raising the next generation. I’m teaching how to be a responsible and kind individual. I am exposing my son to new opportunities and adventures. I am his personal cheerleader. Do I get paid for all I do? The answer to that question is no, not if you’re talking financial compensation but I do not feel that devalues what I do. By the way I do get compensated by my husband and son with acknowledgment and thanks for what I do which I appreciate very much.
At the same time my son is always asking me why I don’t work like Daddy. WHAT? I explain to him over and over that I do work and contribute to our household. I make his life simpler and his Dad’s to. I contribute to my community by helping out in the little league and volunteering at his school when I feel up to it. I also just signed up to be a Daisy Troop Leader with the Girl Scouts – Heart of Central California even though I don’t have a daughter. I do this to contribute to my community, to help the girls in that community grown into the best version of themselves.
As for money, I too contribute financially even though I’m disabled. I’ve worked continuously, often at multiple jobs, since the age of 12. Is it by design that I had to go out on disability when I was only in my mid 30’s? No, it is not a choice I would have made but I’m making the best of it and the silver lining to my predicament is that I get to be a stay-at-home mom to my son.
So am I just a homemaker? Yes and no as I am so much more than the sum of my parts. What do I do you ask, I LIVE, I BREATHE, I LOVE.