Blessed in the small moments.
I feel as though I should be doing more. I spend quite a fair amount of time sleeping these days. My great accomplishment to date is a shower. A heavenly, painstaking shower.
I know my body is doing big things inside and I’m trying to be patient since it is hard to see these achievements.
It’s hard to fight the urge to define my worth by outward accomplishments.
Yet every day I am a little stronger. Every day I am a little closer to my goal, and every day I am reminded of how blessed my life is.
Blessed that I have so much love surrounding me.
Blessed that I can heal.
Blessed that I have the time and the support to grow stronger, even if I resist and fight it in low moments.
It’s been less than a week since surgery and Hurricane Elizabeth is winding up to a be catagory five natural disaster. Anyone within range of my emotional storm is encouraged to tape windows, gather batteries, and seek shelter. Fast.
I’m glaring tearfully and angrily at my hostile and traitorous reflection, in a paused moment attempting to dress myself. I have one good arm and one surgically enhanced, painful and stupid useless one that I am trying desperately not to move even a smidgeon as I pull and tug at articles of clothing.
Even the tiniest tremor sends sweeping nausea, electric pain and a cold, clammy sweat through my body. I’ve been at this for what seems like thousands of agonizing minutes and I’ve had it.
“That’s IT! I’m DONE! I hate this stupid arm, I hate these stupid clothes and I hate, hate, HATE EVERYTHING!”
I want to scream and cry and give up but the socially agreed upon minimally acceptable standard of attire for walking about outside of your home precludes me from leaving like this.
Wearing only my yoga pants, old flip flops, and a sling might get me to the front of the line at my local pharmacy super fast, but it will also get me a super fast ride in full restraints to the lock down ward at the hospital. As much as I would love to circumvent a long wait to pick up my medications, I do not relish a story of me losing it, loudly accompanied by a picture of half naked me going viral on social media. Not after last years Christmas card photoshoot. The kids are still trying to live that one down and there’s still a glossy poster size autographed one on display at the DMV.
(*note to self: swing by DMV for new ID picture)
This healing thing is frustrating and hard. I’m covered in bruised flesh and stitched together incision sites. A Rorschach series of blues and reds and purples covers my shoulder, wraps under my arm and across part of my back where a talented surgeon dug in, shaved bones, cut frayed tendons, mended tears.
I look like I lasted a few rounds with a prizefighter and lost. Still I am amazed at what doctors can do and what bodies can withstand in the name of healing.
It’s always been tough for me to admit I need help. It’s humiliating to have to ask someone to pull on my pants, to fix my hair, to help me lay down and sit up. It’s frustrating and humbling. It’s hard to let others love me in DEED. I would rather be the one in the red cape and bulletproof jammies, than the other guy any day of the week.
The reality is that we all struggle with this, but the truth of the matter is that we are meant to live together, to be in community. We are meant to help. It’s challenging and rocky and truly beautiful to learn to trust and fall knowing that you will be safe and lifted until you’re ready for the ring again, ready for the next round.
Healing takes the kind of time you can’t hurry along to suit yourself. It’s the body’s time to take the broken pieces, the worn out parts and rebuild. It’s exhausting . It’s necessary.
I’ll get my cape and super-suit back in good time but for now, I have to focus on the task at hand. When that day comes, I’ll be ready to take on the world and if you think I look bad right now, you really should see the other guy…
Baby steps. Ugh. Home from seeing my surgeon just now. It was incredibly painful being manipulated and having all of the stitches removed. I was slaked in sweat and the room started spinning. The next thing I knew they had me lying down with a damp towel on my neck and a bucket beside me. Talk about crazy college flashbacks…😳😉
I’m now sporting an attractive bracelet that warns you I’m a “fall risk” which I’m pretty sure I’ve been most of my life, along with being a flight risk too. My mom often remarks “I didn’t name you ‘Grace’ for so many reasons….”
I’m just happy to be back at home and wearing my own panties again. The “Nashoba Valley Secret” sexy assed hospital ones went up to my clavicle.
If I’d only been feeling better I’d have tugged them even higher over my head and robbed a bank or two. I’m a practical gal that way.
This body. Amazing what it can withstand. My excellent doctors tackled my body’s negative reactions to anesthesia and pain meds with a full on approach. Nerve blocks at my neck, breastbone and armpit to get me through the first 16 hours, a patch, IV anti nausea, as well as an oral anti nausea med to push me through the first week.
It’s definitely making a difference. I’m doing what my body needs to do: sleeping a lot interspersed with small single laps around the house and our little farm, lots and lots of water and ice.
My pups have been my constant companions, lavishing snuggles and puppy kisses on me whenever I’m weepy.
My hubby has kept careful and pampered watch over me, easing the tough moments.
Thank you all for your prayers, well wishes and cheering. It’s meant the world.
Most pressing debate in our home at the moment regarding my giant Dynasty-esque shoulder wrap:
Me or Joan Collins. Who wore it better?
Here I am. Three days away from surgery on my shoulder and ONLY my shoulder.
This is despite my best efforts at attempting to talk my orthopedic surgeon into a complimentary “mommy tuck” (read: tummy), and a boob job to relocate those suckers north of my equator again, or at least a little closer to where they were in my youth.
I call this my personal continental drift. My body over the years, has been one long, slow moving, southerly mess. Bones and skin and hair have shifted with regrettable persistence and poor choices. I am assured by my husband it is still a beautiful one. He basically called me a beautiful “mess”.
He’ll deny it. He’ll say he only called me beautiful, but I think we can all agree it was heavily implied in the subtext.
He is reading over my shoulder, the broken down one with the expired warranty, as I type this and loudly complaining that he is being misrepresented.
I felt it only fair to point this out. I do have a tendency to be slightly overly dramatic. Only occasionally and only slightly. Fine. Maybe I’m a little more dramatic than I’ve been willing to admit to in the past. I am what I am, and what I am is a spectacular mess. I’m damn proud of it.
Back to my completely unreasonable doctor, and my completely reasonable request.
I think at this age, after all of these kids, the unnaturally early mornings and the unforgivably late nights my body has earned a spot in the witness relocation program. It has, after all, witnessed quite a lot. through childbirth and aging. Alas, my doctor was resolute in his refusal to accommodate my vanity. I’ve still got 72 hours left to sweet talk him but I think I know when I’m beat.
I’ve spent countless, fruitless hours with patient instruction at the feet of gifted masters, learning to keep my balls in the air.
I can get that first ball tossing smoothly from one hand to the other. I can feel the rhythm take hold of my soul as my fancy takes flight in a red blur of a single ball wizzing in a solitary hoop between my two hands. People passing by gasp at the almost effortless skill with which I pull off this masterpiece of concentration.
I call for a second ball. An excited onlooker grabs one up, tossing the lovely sphere into orbit between my ready hands.
The pressure intensifies.
Now there are two separate balls to keep moving, to keep spinning, to stay in flight without bouncing around my feet, burning up upon reentry from the stratospheric hights that they briefly inhabited.
Pay attention because THIS, this moment right here that I am going to describe, the “third ball” thrown into the loosely controlled chaos of my fumbling hands, THATS where it all falls apart for me.
I start dropping balls.
Not one or two, mind you, oh HELL no, I drop them ALL.
I drop them like Beyoncé drops singles,
like JZ drops rhymes,
like Trump drops staffers.
I drop them HARD.
I’m an expert at eating humble pie (any pie, really, I mean who doesn’t love pie?) and sweeping up my messes.
My gifts lie elsewhere.
I am an OUTSTANDING juggler of tasks and schedules. Puppy walk times, woven neatly into kid pick ups and drop offs, my crazy job schedule that takes me on any given shift from one end of the building, to the furthest ends of our district. Add to that vortex of crazymaking, the insanity of readying dinners, our tiny farm that needs daily tending, and a million and three equally top priority family “need right NOW!”s.
The list of figurative “balls” seems to increase exponentially with each passing day.
Smart people who really, really, REALLY want something done, and done right, ask me.
Or rather they ask busy people.
Busy people who are any good at their professional madness juggling abilities, understand how to prioritize, how to take it allllllllll in, how to keep the constantly increasing number of balls being thrown into the air at them, moving through that air without pause.
These people are able to focus on the most important pieces of each one, rapidly prioritizing and adapting.
We simply do not have time for silly games. Unless there’s time for silly games. Let’s face it: silly things are LOVELY, and infuse much needed joy into life.
Always make time for silly things. Life, is too short and just a wee touch “wackadoodle” to turn your back on participating in silliness. Silliness can totally turn morale around.
So this is how I juggle my crazy life, my crazy kids, my crazy job, and any unexpected balls tossed into the mix. This is how I manage to stumble and fail SPECTACULARLY and yet still have so much to offer.
It’s not tidy, it’s not organized, but it’s how I have it all.