Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wherever I Go, There I Am

We carry our own enviornment with us to a certain extent and are quite likely to stand or fall by the same principals wherever we live.  -Laura Ingles Wilder

I'm banking on this being true.  I want to believe that my recently gained health will be with me wherever I go!  Cause I plan on going!  When I first fell, after the break down or whatever it was, I put aside everything I knew about myself.  I let it all go and tried to just be a person . . a mom. . and a wife.  My priorities were, in this order, eat, sleep and wash.  That's all I needed to know.  That's all I needed to do. . . because that's all I could do!   Simplifying life, I began to see that the only thing I cannot put off is myself. Well, I'd obviously been doing so for quite some time.  It was sort of like I had a newborn in the house again . . only it was me! I was so helpless.  I had to spend more time taking care of myself than each of my children.  And under my careful care, I began to heal: mind, soul and body.  If I could I would take a pen and cross out the word SOUL I would.  My soul is the part of myself  which I have always known to "feed".  That just came naturally.  And I did it so well and so often that I sustained myself for quite some time, running on the energy of positive emotion.  My body symptoms got louder and louder and I soon realized that I didn't know anything about taking care of myself.  With my caregiving skills being sharpened by my babies, I turned to my attention to myself.  I began with the basics. . .clothing...breathing. . . physical affection. . . rest. . . baths. . . lounging around. . . basically just listening to my body.   I began watching for my needs in the same way I attune myself to my childrens' needs.
Since then I have gained more parts of myself back and parts of my previous life back.  But now I understand, "Take care or yourself." really means spend time taking care of  yourself.  Someone needs to!  So I'm figuring if  I am comitted to doing so I can take care of myself wherever I go.


Here I sit, completely incapable of seeing any task through to completion.  I feel like a child on days like these. I know it will pass. I may have brains again tomorrow.  I will have brains again tomorrow! though I may still be a bit beside myself. 
Yesterday was poorly planned and therefore knocked me off my feet.  I took the children with me to a funeral, for which they could not sit still.  We stayed for the meal afterward which was entirely to stimulating with them and everyone else going in different directions.  Whew! That could have done it.  But we had more to do!  We were off to the boys school to meet their teachers and drop off school supplies, then stopped at the preschool to do the same for my daughter.  Hers was smaller and more fun.  Free shaved ice!  The mom in front of us pushed the pump of flavoring down and red spewed all over her daughter.  Why did that bring me comfort?
Anyhow, by the time we reached home, i felt hyper-vigilant and pooped, dying for my bed!  I went to the bathroom where I gathered my first clue: a dozen or more flies.  Hm. . the back door must have been left open.  I get to the kitchen and look at my blackberry pie.  I think, "who's been eating my pie?" and then "what's that terrible smell?"   My eyes widened to see berry pie and chicken poo tracked all over the kithcen counters!. .. my recipe notes, and my clean hand washed dishes.  We kept finding poo, I cleaned and hour, went to bed. The boys did the dishes.
I had anxiety in the night. I was recalling some of my stupidest moments and dreaming of embarrassing body functions.  I slept late and woke to find a Rode Island Red hen laying an egg in my king size quilt laying on the dryer.  I was standing there loading clothes into the wash, taking my time, looking for stains.  Catching a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye, I jumped, picked her up and found a perfect warm brown egg.  (We also found two green eggs of Cream's.  Which meant that she had layed in the same spot on two other occasions.) Then it hit me, why the hens are always wanting in the house.  Several times daily we are shooing them away from the doorways.  They are just looking for a nice place to lay! So i set my odest about the task of spiffing up their nest box in the hen house. Don't know if it will help.  In fact, it sounds like one is in the kitchen right now!
Excepting the laundry, I've rested all day. I had a good nap.  But my mind is a very confusing place!  Days like today I try to find my sense of humor,  rest, and be kind to the children.  These are the only things that seem to help. . . and the only things I seem to be able to accomplish. 
My brain is on vacation!  I'll see it soon enough.  Then we'll be back in business . . . cleaning house, making meals, helping with the childrens' projects, planning outings and keeping the chickens out of the house!

My Husband's Greatest Gift to Me (yes, even greater than my children!)

Two years two months ago, my husband walked away from a blossoming career on the beautiful island of Oahu.  I am now almost certain the choice to do so has cost him immeasurably more than we were able to foresee.
I remember standing in my breezy kitchen, his arms around me, snap-shots of our life in Hawaii passing through my mind.  I knew with out a doubt: whatever was rumbling inside me was going to cause it all to fall apart.   So lovely and tropical on the outside, torrential storm brewing on the inside.
Just three months later, I confessed my desire to move back to the NW. . . and despite what he had told me for the previous year, he confessed his desire to do nothing of the sort.  Honestly, I was not angry.  I had spent all my anger on myself, for days feeling shameful for the incongruency in my heart.  I fought between the desire to take care of myself (a new thing) and the desire to do what I had previously determined as best.  Could I really take the easier, most likely road to recovery?  There was a great rush of freedom in just the thought.   The new understanding, that if my best chance at recovery includes leaving the Islands, this was the road I could shamelessly confess as my preference.   Weather or not I would take the way out was of little import at this time. It was a big moment for me.  I  had known my mind and made a step toward becoming an adult person!   The conclusion came with so much brooding anger and shame and self-loathing. There was an immediate calm after its admission, even only to myself!  Really this seemed to be what mattered. I didn't feel an urgency to convince my husband.  I simply said, "I believe my best chance of recovery is where I was born and raised." I was no longer ashamed of wanting the best!
I left HI with the children for summer break.  My husband joined us a week or so later.  While we were apart he had decided we would not return to the Islands at the end of summer.  I was scared at first, "Can I really do as I like with my own life?" 
Quickly, I began to recover my health, soothed as I was, by the regularity of life where I grew up. I believe my return to the town of my accident has had a major impact upon my recovery.  I felt as if mere weeks had past since the accident.  In truth? Fifteen years!But I began to mourn and grieve, learning along the way how to comfort myself.
These past two years have been packed full of weeping, confusion, family conflict, anger, resentment and darkness.  But these last two months have been full of light, understanding, hope and serenity.  And all the while my patient husband has put his dreams on hold.  What can I say to him?  Neither of us seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, in regards to our future.  The economy and my unhealth have us a bit stuck. Direction? Career? Residence? Stability?  These are the questions with which we are left.
I know less about my future, more about my past, and finally, most about myself.
Thank you, sweet husband, for letting me go back in time, filling up the gaps at home while I was busy re-doing 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20, putting yourself aside . . . for me, a girl who had not yet found herself amongst all the tears and tragedy, college and friends, ministry and babies.
You have my trust, my respect, and my HEART. I don't know where we're going, when or if we're going to go. But I know you'll  be standing by me and I just want you to know: I am ready to go.