Surgery again for my girl.
She is braver than I.
When they ask about anxiety before surgery
I forget they are asking her.
Because the answer is yes.
Yes, I do get anxious.
It’s hard to know where to begin. The last week has been a whirlwind of laughing, drinking, talking, crying, travelling, shopping and a bit more drinking. Probably more drinking than I ought to ‘fess up to… so never mind. Forget you read that part.
My youngest was sick in hospital over the Christmas break, and we were off to see a specialist in the Big City. Our eldest daughter joined us on the trip, meaning it was three of us ladies away for the weekend.
There are lots of components to a medical trip for us. There is the medical, obviously…doctor visit, tests, plans, treatment, new meds, probably some pain and discomfort for wee girl and always worry for Mom, but we just get through that part as quickly as we can.
We visit and we eat…oh my, there’s all that fabulous food! Coming from a small center, the food options in a real city are dizzying! So much CHOICE!! And of course, there is the SHOPPING. I’m not talking about a prolonged trip to the mall. I’m not talking about a day in the shops. Nope. I am talking marathon, non-stop, strategic, day after all-day Olympic medal shopping. These girls are ridiculous. Because they are employed and because we live far from good shopping, they save their money…they plan….they plot.
They damn near killed me. I am glad to report the money spent was NOT MINE. That is, in and of itself, worthy of note. I absolutely LOVE that the money wasn’t mine, actually. So, I let them blow their money while I visited, hiked, and drank wine with friends.
Let’s take a moment and reflect on the value of drinking good wine (or even crap wine!) with friends. It’s the best kind of therapy. After what feels like months of anxiety, worry and stress, a good belly laugh in a friend’s kitchen over a glass of wine felt like medicine. I left home Thursday morning holding my shoulders tight, frowning slightly and filled with worry. The doctor’s appointment didn’t alleviate the worry, not a bit. The friends… the friends and the wine, the friends, the wine and the walking…? That did it. That eased me like nothing else really could.
So I’ll think about that as I go forward this month; I want to be that friend with wine. I want to be ready with my door open, arms open and (you better believe it), bottle open for my friends. ‘Cause we all know we don’t need our friends to give us answers…we just need them to keep our secrets, hold our hands and keep our glasses filled. Cheers, and thank you to my friends. I’ve got the corkscrew in hand… come on over!
I was having a drink tonight with a friend, a fairly new friend who is deep in the trench I was in 10 years or so ago. She’s got little ones… 3 and 6 years old. Her life is all about breakfast, school, pre-school, laundry, shopping, her work, play time, sibling rivalry, toys, and bedtime. Her focus has gone so far away from her own needs that she can hardly remember what they are. And she works from home.
That’s such an intense time, when kids are small and needing you so desperately. Never a moment to do much for yourself.
What I didn’t expect was how long the intensity would last. Mine are B.I.G. and I still feel consumed by their needs so often. I work in my office from 8:30 ’til 5 every day, then come home for the second shift; the shift of preparing dinner, cleaning up, taking people here and there, soccer practice, drop off at so and so’s house, shopping, laundry, etc.etc. That’s not unique, I know… Moms everywhere do the same thing every single day. We know it’s part of the deal.
What surprises me is how it surprises me, even after all this time. I’m still looking around for the grown up when life gets crazy or tough or scary…it’s still a shock when I realize it’s ME!
My friend and I were talking about all the things women friends talk about: kids, work, money, marriage, sex, life, health, time, stress, worry. Both of us have had lots of crazy things happen over the last few years; deaths, financial pressures, moves, transitions, illnesses, job changes, etc. etc. Both of us have had what you could call a “difficult year”. The truth is, I don’t know anyone who HASN’T had a “difficult year”. Every year has so much stuff in it, so much good we forget and bad that we remember, that we seem to mostly remember the bad (I am choosing to believe that so I don’t believe that the last few years have been solid bad stuff).
Suddenly it hit me that… crap… maybe it hasn’t just been a rough few years… maybe this is actually REAL LIFE! Maybe it’s just the way it is…always.
I’m not saying every day is dreadful, only that every few months seems to bring another tremor of some kind, minor or right off the Richter scale. Sometimes there’s a chance to recover from one quake before the next hits, but sometimes the tremors just keep on coming ’til your knees are weak and your head’s spinning.
I think I’m going to stick with my first theory; it’s been a pretty rough few years. That way, I know there’s sure to be a bit of a break in the storm really soon. Maybe that’s my Hollywood movie upbringing….rainbows, silver linings and happy endings. Maybe it’s my innate optimism. Maybe it’s desperation…
But all this “stuff”… all these “challenges” that make me strong, make my family resilient & build my character? They’re starting to piss me off.
So reality, take a hike…I’m going to Mexico. And you’re not invited.
Bedside again, watching her sleep and waiting for the doctor. Post operative complications have overshadowed our Christmas, though we were home for Christmas this year.
I fix her pillow, adjust the bed, fetch a blanket, fuss at her and generally drive her mad. As much as she loves me and relies on me, she is still a 15 year old girl and I am still mom.
It’s a kind of prayer, this fussing… a kind of promise keeping. I can’t fight the infection she is battling, can’t take the pain away or make her stronger. I can brush her hair back from her eyes, I can bring her water and do those small things anxious mothers do. It might irritate her as much as it helps her but I can’t help myself. She is my job. Whatever else I am in the world outside this curtain, in here she is my only work.
And she gets it. She understands and is so patient with my fluttering, my over helping. She thanks me, lets me adjust and smiles at me, almost always. And she lets me kiss her forehead as often as I need to.