Extra Baggage

So this was the weekend. The weekend my husband and I would spend a night away from home. It has been six years since we were able to do it last. Six years ago we only had one child. In that span of time we had three more children and life got much more complicated.

It’s the added stress of a son with complex medical issues and my own chronic illness that made a small getaway so important to us. My husband and I arranged this special weekend months ago and we have been talking about it ever since. We have been dreaming about uninterrupted sleep, a schedule free of obligations, and most importantly, much needed time alone. I have been begging for a weekend away for a couple years now. I think the guilt of being away from home and asking someone else to care for the kids, especially one with special circumstances, kept us from following through. It has also been hard to set aside money to fund a weekend away. We were determined this time and we set a little money aside and took family up on their offers to spend the weekend with our kids.

Unfortunately, my RA had decided it too wanted a vacation. It reared it’s ugly head Saturday morning. The pain was so intense that it took me twice as long to do my usual morning preparations. Door knobs and car doors looked more like thorns and sandpaper. During what felt like a grudge match with my make-up and curling iron, it struck me that I may have to cancel our long awaited get away. We weren’t going far, only twenty minutes from home, but when experiencing that much pain, it’s hard to leave the comforts of home.

I decided I wasn’t going to cancel although I was disappointed and upset that I had to be in so much pain on such an anticipated day. I had to understand that I can take a vacation, illnesses don’t. I was upset because I thought my illness should. So despite the setbacks, we enjoyed our time together. We came home early the next day because I was too sick. We came home before lunch and I fell asleep on my chair.

I realized I wasn’t *d* with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, I was *d* living along side those diseases. I didn’t want to make room for either in my life. I was trying to set myself apart from the diseases in hopes that I would get better and it would just be “me” again. It’s all quite silly because my son has an incurable illness we have learned to accept. My problem is denial. On our last overnight stay six years ago we stayed near an amusement park and I was riding roller-coasters, walking long distances and I took no medication. Six years passed and changed very quickly. I’m not sure how I’ll finally accept sharing my life with these diseases.. maybe I never will.

That’s the way life is, things change and we have to learn to live with those changes we can’t do anything about. My grandmother had to adjust to life alone after my grandfather passed away. She learned to drive his lawnmower and drive herself where she needed to go because he wasn’t around to do those things with her anymore. It’s been a hard two years but she is adjusting. I have always thought of my grandmother as a strong person. Among many things, she is a beast cancer survivor but you’ll never hear her complain. I know I want to be more like her. Both she and my mom are strong women, and it’s usually not by choice. They have been forced to make room for the unexpected trials of life

This weekend had a good lesson for me; keep going despite the unexpected. I didn’t expect to be in terrible pain the day of our departure, but I can never anticipate what days will be the most difficult. I have to keep trying to enjoy what I can, when I can. I was in a lot of pain the entire weekend but I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I got to spend with my husband.

I guess I need to think about whether I make room for the unexpected  gracefully or make it come by force; either way it’s coming. I like it when I can do it with something to look forward to or at least with a smile on my face.

*d*

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Just a Moment

There are moments that take you by surprise with the amount of feeling they cause to rush through you. Some are more profound than others, but they’re all recognizable. I guess they’re emotional epiphanies. Sometimes, during an everyday moment, you catch a glimpse of how things really are. Like we’re all actors in this television show and that insight that rushes at you out of nowhere is like the director unexpectedly calling “CUT!”

I’ve had tons of these moments that have given me pause and I’m not going to rack my ever-tired brain trying to recall them now. But I will say that I had one tonight that was moving enough to get me to write. I’m pretty grateful for that since I’ve sort of fallen off the wagon when it comes to being a prolific writer. I was doing so well for a while there, and then, as it does, life got in the way. I’m fighting my way back. Honestly. I’m not giving up…

But anyway, I was brushing my teeth after my shower this evening, and standing in front of the sink in my pajamas. Husband was just outside the open door and we were laughing and talking about something ridiculous (as we often do). I was brushing away and I looked down at myself. I had on a thin, loose fitting tank top and no bra (it’s not as sexy as it sounds. TRUST ME). In the mirror I could see my blotchy, post-shower skin and the frothy blue of the toothpaste dripping from the corners of my mouth like a vampire who’d just fed on the entire Smurf village. I thought: This. Man. Loves. Me. Moreover, he loves me at my rawest. It’s like for a split second I’m 14 again and I can’t believe I’m standing there with my boobs hanging freely and almost under my arms, slobbering on myself, with another person in the room—let alone a man. But that’s what adulthood is. That’s what marriage is. What love is. You’re able to be yourself around another person, to the most extreme limits. It’s both weird and awesome. I mean, if you really think about it.

So I had this little moment of recognition and as I do every time one smacks me in the face, I thank it. I’m grateful for the insight, for knowledge, for the chance to really appreciate what it’s showing me.

~L~

Ignoring a Five Year Plan

Next year marks my ten year wedding anniversary. This is significant for a number of reasons. For the significance of this post, it means my husband and I have been together for a couple rounds of “where do you think we will be in five years.”
This used to be such an entertaining game. Even before he and I met, a sported round of this game was always worth a spin. Here is how the three previous rounds have summed up since I was somehow declared an adult.
Round one took some casualties. I lost friendships and a marriage but I gained the confidence to live on my own and try to start asking what I wanted with the next five years.
Five years later and I was remarried. I had two children. We were both employed and happy. It was also in this five years we found out one of our children had a rare and incurable disease. Five years down the road began to look more bleak.
Sadly my husband and I no longer question where we will be in five years. My life is very different than I could have imagined and it demands that I live for today. Planning tomorrow ended years ago in a hospital room when we realized how quickly today can change tomorrow.
Five years from now is scarier than it used to be. The older I get, the less I would want to know. In everything there is joy but only with a share of heartbreak. I think I can wait for it all.
Today I will start a new game called, “making today’s decision at the crossroad count.”
*d*