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    Finding the gratitude


    “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

    Buddha

    Don’t expect much from me this week.  (Such a statement isn’t exactly the best way to entice readers, but I’m going to tell it like it is.)  I feel LOUSY.  This is probably the most ill I’ve felt during Fig’s life.  Mastitis ranks high on the list of unpleasant ‘itises,’ but I’m suffering from a bronchial infection this time around, and it’s not pretty.  I’ve been coughing so much that my abs are sore.  (I wonder if I’ll come out of this with a six-pack.)

    I’ve learned from this sickness that there is just no room for moms to be ill.  It doesn’t work.  Before I had a family, I would simply call-in sick and retreat to my cozy little cave.  I’d spend my time sleeping, reading, resting, movie-watching and of course drinking fluids.  Now I realize that the kind of recuperation time I enjoyed as a single woman was a luxury!!!   WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE FOR A DAY IN BED!!!   There is no cave for the mother of two young kids.  Well, the cave is here, but the rest and relaxation are not.

    I have also learned that thinking about what you’d rather be doing, when it’s just not in the cards, is sheer torture.  It does not help to send yourself messages like, “All I want to do is curl up and sleep,” when you’re changing your daughter’s diaper and she’s fighting you all the way.  It’s much easier to accept your current reality and make the best of it.  For instance, I managed to do a lot of horizontal parenting today, and the girls didn’t seem to mind.  There was more book-reading than bike-riding, to be sure, but it was still enjoyable for the girls and more comfortable for me.

    This  nasty little bug has been taunting me for three weeks now, and just when I decided I was well-enough to take a family trip to the big city, it called all of it’s nasty-bug-relatives and declared war on my body.  I decided to rally, and do all of the things we had planned to do while in Vancouver, but I clearly overdid it.

    Vancouver

    Both girls have been suffering from colds during the past two weeks as well, and I find it impossible to focus on my own health when my children are sick.  Pip sleeps well through the night, even when she’s sick, but Fig has been averaging two wake-ups every night and it’s bloody exhausting!  Just when I think I’m on the mend, I have a night with little or no sleep and I’m back to square one.  It’s like my immune system is too tired to fight the good fight.

    So last night at 12:00 pm, and again at 4:00 am when I dragged my coughing, sneezing,sleep-deprived body upstairs to nurse Fig, I thought to myself, “there’s no gratitude in this.”  But of course, there is.  For starters, I’m sick, but I don’t have a life-threatening illness.  I can’t imagine the bravery it takes to face that kind of challenge.  Secondly, my kids are generally pretty healthy.  This is small potatoes compared to what a lot of parents with really sick kids have to endure.  I volunteered at the Vancouver Children’s hospital years ago, and it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

    Thirdly, this may sound kind of bizarre, but I’m repeatedly reminded of a woman I saw on Oprah last year.  I don’t watch the show regularly anymore, but I suppose I was meant to see this particular story.  A pregnant woman went into the hospital to give birth to her second daughter, contracted flesh-eating disease during her cesarean section, and had to have all of her limbs amputated immediately.  The hospital staff kept waiting for her to crash; become angry or depressed-but she never did!  She said that she felt lucky to be alive, and she had two beautiful daughters to love.  That kind of strength ASTOUNDS me!!!  She went home from the hospital without arms or legs.  Can you imagine?  I can’t.

    So, although caring for two young kids while I’m ill is challenging, I know that things could be a lot worse.  For that I’m grateful, and sometimes, finding the gratitude isn’t easy.


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