Hundreds and Thousands

1521719_10153162285630815_8428987546632118258_nHello.  I’ve been having the sort of family weekend I have been dreaming of for a long time.

A normal kind of weekend.

Let’s see… a bit of shed building, a trip to the airport to pick up Ceci, supermarket shopping, baking, a few loads of washing, movie night, a short family bike ride. A bit of blogging.

Did I mention baking?!  I just banged out a double batch of our family’s favourite chocolate cake!  Then I wrapped the individual portions and popped them in the freezer for lunchbox treats! And yes!  That is worth all those exclamation marks! It feels… so good.  I’ve had this enormous well of frustration over the all the mummy tasks I haven’t been able to do; it’s been getting deeper and deeper over the years.  Sometimes I have let myself wallow in it and feel very, very miserable about it. But today I was able to drop the bucket in and start ladelling out some of the overflow, because today, I did a whole mummy task!  It feels like a real achievement, kind of a yardstick of how much better I am feeling.

And as an added bonus, I have a blogging friend who runs a regular instagram baking event.  She calls it #sundaybakingsunday.  I’ve wanted to join the sunday bakers since I first found out about it, but by the time Sundays rolled around, I was always too unwell.  So this Sunday, I baked, and I instagrammed it! I’m not much of an instagrammer, so that felt like a double win. Thanks to having the ‘roids on my side!  Rach on ‘roids is such a different creature to get used to.

She contains all of the latent wishes of the Chronic-ills Rach.  She carries all the internal lists and hopes and pressures. She is determined to use all this Steroidal benefit to good use.  She’s on a mission! But if she is honest, she’s overdoing it a bit.  Probably a lot. She’s been racing around like a crazy thing, trying to ‘catch up’. And so she crashes.  And it’s true, she recovers much faster than she ever did before.  But she’s feeling a bit stressy.  A little overwhelmed.  Probably a lot like the average Mum.

Before Kellie passed away, she and I were talking about how it was going to be when she got better. She said she was afraid she would take wellness for granted. She didn’t want forget the lessons she had learned while she was sick and go back to the busy-ness of life pre-sick.  She wanted to remember what was important. We promised each other that we would keep each other on track.  And I have been thinking about that conversation.

I seriously doubted I would ever feel like this again, you know? Able!  So I wasn’t prepared when it happened. But I am feeling more able, and it is a carnival of possibilities!  I don’t know how long these good effects will last, or if this treatment regime will eventually lose against the ‘thing’ that is attacking my autonomic nervous system. So I am conscious that this time I have on the other side; this feeling-good-ability, is so very, very precious. I don’t want to waste it. So why do I find myself heaping on the pressure? Diving into stressville? Why must I cram so much into each day?  I’m like a starving creature in the face of a feast.  I’m so afraid someone is going to take it all away.

The hubster and I had a chat about that today.  About taking it easy, slowing down.  That maybe I need to “Settle, petal”.  So I am here, on my bed, in my ‘corner office’  …taking some time out to write this little update.  I hope you are having a good weekend too.  I hope there is enough of the relaxation to balance out the tasks.  I hope there’s a little bit of mooching in there somewhere. I hope you are getting the balance right.  I hope we are all remembering what is important.

Regular life has become pretty busy since I was last here!  Slow down you lot!  And you, too, Rach on ‘roids.   🙂  You don’t actually have to do hundreds of thousands of things just because you CAN.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the pace of normal life too?
Are we all just a little bit crazy with all the things we try to get done?
Why do we do that?

Sliding Scale

I’m a kid again, clinging on to one of those tall steel slides at the local playground. I’ve been working my way up the slide from the bottom; hand over hand, feet slipping.  My grip is slick with the strain. I am so close to the platform that can see the wood grained ends of the planks, right at my eye level.  I shift my gaze to the macro view of peeling paint on the iron frame. Fix my sight, right there. So close! My shaking arms are holding my weight but I need to let go to reach the edge! 

I lunge for it and lose my grip, clutching wildly for the sides as I slip backwards, defeated. I  land unceremoniously on my backside in the puddle at the bottom of the slide.  It was all for nothing. I hear laughter as I move to stand.
“Never mind, you’ll make it when you’re bigger” my sister says. I am embarrassed and inadequate. I glare at that slide and the nasty kids over on the swings and stomp off to the bench.  Who needs to make it to the top anyway?   Stupid slide.

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I have a to-do list for today.  Nothing odd about that, I’ve got a normal first world obsession with lists and accomplishments.  Like many women, looking at their lists this morning, I look at mine and think ‘I can’t do it, I haven’t a hope of getting through that list’.  A wisp of a dream image ghosts across my mind. Sheer slippery metal glinting across my subconcious.  I know that I do want to make it to the end of that list.  Very badly.  I want to feel what it is like again to achieve something.  To stand on the platform, King of my Castle.

There are three things on it.

Two are online banking tasks.
One requires getting up, getting dressed, going to the hospital and seeing my General Physician for our regular check up.

And I recognise, that the girl I used to be would have chewed through that list in no time. Bam. 
Not anymore.  It seems like my lists are getting shorter and my efforts to achieve them are bigger than before.  It’s a sliding scale.  I have reduced my expectations about how far I can walk, about how much I can be involved in school, about work, about social gatherings, about mothering, being a wife, a homemaker, an do-er.  I even modify my view of what ‘feeling good’ should feel like.  I make my ‘normal’ from the abnormal. I shrink my expectations of what I should achieve in a day, yet I never make it to the top of my expectations.  How small must they be?  And why do they seem bigger than before, even though I keep paring them back?

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Source:  Andersen Layman

 

I’m at the bottom of that slide, looking up.  The ground I am standing on is eroding.  If I don’t jump soon, the slide will be too far away for me to even lunge on to it. I call out for my sister.  “Help me!” 
I can’t see her.  The playground is empty.  The slide looms above me, and I am a tiny thing, an ant. I haven’t a hope of getting up that slide.  I sit down and let the earth take me away in a rivulet torrent of rain and silt. I am tossed in the miniature rapids, growing smaller with each tumble.  Until at last, I am a speck of dust.  The sun beats warm down on my back.  And I, just am.
Sometimes, it is all I can be.