So I’ve been a little grumpy, and tired, and sick….and I can’t wait for all of it to pass. The last few months of repeated illness have really worn me down. Each time I think we are past one illness it seems another comes along. This past tuesday night Zuzu told me she wasn’t hungry, and I had her eat anyway. Then she told me her tummy hurt and I made her finish her bath. Fortunately for the Quail, her and I; I did manage to get her out of the tubby before everything she had eaten in the last week worked it’s way up. Poor lamb, she was sick repeatedly into the night until about 2 am when she woke me up with, “Momma, I feel better now, we can go watch a show in the living room!” And then again at 3, and at 4, and at 5….she really did feel better though, and even though she stayed home with Lovey the next morning and me in the afternoon she was her cheerful, energetic self. So I wrote it off to maybe some bad food and back to school she went thursday.
Come friday morning I woke up with a tender tummy and again wrote it off to bad food. Apparently I need to clean out our pantry if I’m so easily convinced it could be the food. I made it through an hour and a half of work before realizing what was coming and made it home just in time. Chula Cat, Lovey and later; Zuzu were very kind to watch over me and I got a few extra hours of daytime sleep in before the yuck hit Lovey. We are just hoping it isn’t too much to ask for this to pass by the Quail. We’ve been making sure she drinks the most recently pumped milk in hopes of loading her up on antibodies to it. So far so good.
At any rate, I’ve been having a real blizzard of thoughts on how to cope with all of this. I’m fortunate that Lovey can adjust his schedule and work from home, night or on the weekends so that really there is only about a 1/2 dozen hours in my work week that I have to take off if the kiddos are sick. I know I am VERY lucky in this, and I am oh, so grateful for a progressive, loving and involved Daddy to my kiddos that sees it as his right and responsibility to actively take care of the kiddos- including when they are sick. And I’m blessed that the kiddos are as attached to him as me so that it is a comfort for them to stay home with me. But with all of this happening within the first year after my return to work from an 8 week maternity leave, my reserve of time off, is there but fading. I’m not quite using it as quickly as I earn it, but the two statistics are gaining on each other. I feel bad that I don’t spend more time with the kids. I feel like I need to actively be more of a mom to them. There’s the overarching, gross worry of if the Quail is going to need open-heart surgery in a few years and just the thought of that scares the dickens out of me. And then there are the more mundane ordinary worries (of which I am grateful to have!). I want a homemade meal on the dinner table, I want actual activities and adventures as a family. I want the house less cluttered, and to spend less time getting it that way. I want to be to work on time and I want to be focused and productive while I’m there. I want a job where my work doesn’t continue to pile up when I can’t be there.
I know there are many long range things I can plan for- moving closer to work, working less hours, looking for a different job. When the day comes I’m no longer pumping and nursing I know I’ll have more energy. When the baby goes back to sleeping through the night I’ll have more energy then too. When her little constitution is a bit more germ proof after this vicious cold and flu season she’ll hopefully get sick a little less frequently. In other words I know this will all pass. I remember Zuzu’s first year- she was sick with raging ear infections from 7 months- 13 months. While she was never hospitalized for it; she got very, very ill with each and her reaction to each antibiotic was no picnic either. But as she got a little older and her immune system a little bolder she gets sick so much less often. I do know this will happen for the Quail eventually too. I’m just tired right and frazzled right now.
In the meantime there are some things I can do. I can go to bed earlier. I can sleep a little later. I can take my vitamins. I can try to make sure my diet is healthy and not filled with junk or quick finds. I can try to focus and get caught up at work so it isn’t stressing me out. I can make an extra effort to leave early for work so that I’m not feeling behind when the day has just started. I also need to remind myself that I am the grown up here. That just because I’m unhappy and feel like I’m not providing enough to everyone within my immediate family; let alone outside of it and want life to be different, I don’t need to go around grumping about it. I have been finding myself short-tempered and a little surley. I’ve heard Zuzu ask Daddy more than a couple of times in the last month, “Daddy- why is momma so cranky?” as well as her direct instructions to, “Momma- you need to be nice to people that are just trying to pour their own juice” She’s right. I do need to be nice. Nice begets nice. All those precious little children know is if I’m smiling and happy and present with them, or if I’m just a cranky crank who has forgotten her manners. They don’t know, care or understand- that’s it’s because I’m so mad I can’t BE with them more that I’m like this! Gee- I’m sure they’d love to see more of this crankster too 🙂 I’m grateful that they are so sweet and forgiving and accept my smiles or cranks at such face value. I wish we all were more like that.
Look for the light in the darkness you feel hemmed in by. On MLK day last monday NPR interviewed Reverand Kyles about the late great Martin Luther King Jr and how he came to Memphis which was a dark place at that time in history and brought some light with his dream. He tells about the phrase, “Knocking holes in the darkness” from Robert Louis Stevenson in regards to remembering MLK and all he did for this country:
“I’ll be talking about knocking holes in the darkness. It is said that Robert Louis Stevenson was a man who never enjoyed good health. He spent a lot of time in his room even as a child. He was always looking out the window. His nurse asked him one day, Robert, what are you doing? He said, I’m watching that old man knock holes in the darkness. She said, what are you talking about?
He would climb up the ladder and light the light, come down, move the ladder to the next pole, climb up, come down, move the ladder. And everywhere he would light a light it appeared to him with his little quick mind that a hole was being knocked in the darkness.
And so I’m suggesting that those of us who have the strength and the ability, we should be knocking holes in the darkness.”
Rev. Kyles of course means this in a much bigger scheme in life. But with the reference to little RLS and his looking at “the bright side” of his life and his ability to be creative with what he had even though he wasn’t well, it just made me realize that I’m the one that needs to adjust my attitude before I start making any other major life adjustments. I don’t need to walk around cranking and picking at others because I want my life to be different, easier, less chaotic. I’m so blessed that my family loves me and accepts me. And I need to love and accept me. This will pass. And in the meantime, I don’t need life passing me by while I wait for it too.