On Accepting Limitations

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Thank you for your very kind words, words that really uplifted me and helped me to feel not so alone. They’ve become a bit of a theme for this week. A week that has me increasingly worried about getting back to work, and finances between now and then, and brought the washer not so easily fixed ($280.53), the repair person noticing a blocked duct, which turned out to be a whole other company who can come next week and unblock all the ducts, for around $180 plus tax. Yesterday was my day at the hospital, today there was the trip to the local children’s hospital for an appointment for one of the wee ones,  it was a new clinic, only there was no air con, a very very long wait, hemorrhaging (me, obviously) and an incredible feeling if we didn’t leave and get home now, then I wouldn’t leave there on my own two feet. So we left. And the guilt overtook me for a moment, until I remembered the wise words from an after-clinic chat with my OBGYN yesterday, a reminder sometimes the very best you can do is try your best, and accept that your best is good enough even if it isn’t typical or your desired outcome. The talk came as we were discussing the next operation and overall goals, she shared some of her own experiences, worries and acceptances, and I left feeling able to breathe again, after a very very hard day.

And so today we left the children’s hospital and were met with total acceptance and a new appointment at a quieter time, with nothing but kind words from the staff {who were told a bit about our situation by our Paediatric team at the hospital}, and even a phone call and email to check in soon after we arrived home. And then my friend the stay-at-home Dad brought homemade banana bread for the children, and market veggies for me, and his children came to entertain my children and play with the cats {a photo of 1/2 the children all cooing over a kitty is above}, and I find myself able to do exactly what the Doctor ordered, with my feet up, a cup of tea in one hand, and just rest between now and needing to leave for my next medical appointment later this afternoon. So we didn’t get the appointment finished, nor did we get to the little side-trip I had planned on the way home {culture and all that jazz}, but we did get to a place of giggles, laughter, jokes, friendships and rest. All in all if that’s “good enough” then it is pretty fine with me. And dear wee children of mine, I do promise one day soon I’ll get you to an activity that isn’t medical and isn’t based at home. But for now, we’ll just keep doing what we know how to do!

May your day be filled with plenty “good enough” too. xo

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Look For The Good

It started with spending too much time on facebook last night and noticing something that hurt my feelings. I then checked instagram and noticed it there, too. It led back to my remembering a recent social media conversation I witnessed where every other blogger was fawned over and added, while I was completely ignored. And that reminded me of the recent time I was not invited to join a local adoption playgroup by adoptive blogger mums, in fact being told no when I asked if my children could attend, until they heard through the grapevine I had a blog and they then contacted me and invited me, casually mentioning they are very selective about attendance and prefer it to be for more popular blogger’s children’s like me (?!), before mentioning they hoped I’d link to their blog and “share my readers” and they couldn’t wait to see me and meet my children. Um, no.

Back to yesterday, after being a bit bruised with hurt feelings I did the very worst thing and tried to put logic where there is none. I wondered if they deemed me a frugal failure? Not poor enough or not wealthy enough, or something. Recent events here made me question if that person, too, had issue with me. And if I could have asked them right out what sort of person I should become to make them happy, I would have. Yes, it was that bad. I continued looking around facebook and looked up a few old friends from childhood. Everyone had “much better” lives than me. I saw pictures of their little ones swimming in their pool, frolicking at the family cottage for the summer, in expensive “best in the city” day-camps I could never dream of for my children – the same day-camp a physician on my health team suggested I enrol my children in so I could get a break, only at $1100 for 2 weeks (!!!) there’s as much chance of our going to the moon. Then there was a couple who moved to South America for a year with their children, and then out of the blue an older friend who recently connected on facebook asked for a “real update” and what’s been happening for the last 10 years, after sharing her own news and I didn’t know where to start. How much do I explain? How much do I say? Because our life isn’t exactly straight-forward, and new people, or older people I once knew, tend to have a lot of questions.

And just as I was feeling lower than I have in a very long time {in truth I felt like a massive failure at life}, I noticed my facebook messenger list and a sweet friend now in real life I met through this blog, and thought “you know, if I was many of those people I’m looking up to and wanting to be like, I’m sure this wonderful friend wouldn’t even be in my life”. And then I thought about all of you. {I’ve long said I have no clue why people read this blog, I can’t teach you anything, I don’t have a fancy camera, I can’t hook you up with freebies or deals, but your words and sharing of your gifts guide us, teaches us and gives us hands to hold onto when things get hard. Thank you.} Next I noticed out of the corner of my eye a conversation which included one of the people who I was giving way too much brain space to, about money; a conversation that is the antithesis of my values, or the values of people who read here. A conversation in real-life I’d not take part in. Then I remembered what a bully one of those old school friends was, terrorizing children who lost a parent or sibling well into her youth, and that her life was very much a lie as a child, parents hiding from friends the fact they were divorced and had a son in jail, and instead attending parent gala’s as a power couple, criticizing lone parents and gossiping about who divorced, and I wondered how hard that must have been for her, to live a lie, to keep up appearances. Then the friend who connected sent another message explaining a hard time she’d had a few years ago which made her drop out of her masters program, and how she can’t believe her “luck” now because for a long time she didn’t think life would work out. Next one of the children’s godparents reached out with such kind words about us, all from a person who really really knows us, and suddenly those camp pictures just made me cringe and I realized even if money were no object, it wouldn’t be where I send my children. Finally, the someone who I always think provides so much more for their children than I can {which my children always hear about}, well their children wanted to be here again this weekend. And while it isn’t a competition, and I would never think our life is better than anyone else’s, I realized our life is home and no one else’s life would work for us. No one…

Recently I’ve been teaching wee girl to look for the good. Part of tween culture I think is to begin to notice the world around them much more and think about what they like and don’t, but that can lead to complaining about others, or small little put downs. I’ve been encouraging her to look for the good even when it may not be right for her and to use every opportunity to build people up, rather than tear people down. I shared this quote with her and tried to give it some context into her life:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  Fred Rogers

I also then, probably annoyingly, shared the concept of a glass being half full or half empty. “What about if you think it is in-between” she asked? At which point I was stumped.

The truth is, I’m sure there are many people who look at photos of my children and wish they had children, or could have their child be little again, or that, sadly, their child survived. And it isn’t ever about having more than them, but it is about not taking what you do have for granted. It is about seeing the beauty of it while it is staring you in the face, instead of when it is only a distant memory. I look back now and realize our the years before wee boy’s demise were such a gift, they were the only time we’ll have where he had normality, where we had normality, and if I could go back for a day I would. I’d go back to my 6 am snuggles with him and have the innocence of not knowing the internal terrors that await him now each morning. I’d do anything to always see two little faces staring at me in the rear-view mirror instead one and an empty booster. And while it is unlikely anyone in my social circle’s children will have the extent of the issues wee boy has, their children are all still under 6, many are babies, and you just don’t know what future awaits them. And how wonderful to be able to offer support if they do hit a very lonely road as a parent, and to be able to show them love and understanding if they feel alone.

More and more I find that people I’m really connecting with are people who’ve experienced life altering pain and loss. That pain may be completely invisible to the naked eye, but as we get to know each other, it becomes part of learning about them and it is interwoven into all they are, standing tall as survivors today. They aren’t a homogenous group, it isn’t about being connected to people who are the same, in fact they couldn’t be more different. It is so much deeper than sharing an experience like motherhood, which seems to connect people in superficial ways I can’t relate to. I’ve noticed our friendships reach a level of depthness most probably wish they could experience, and I feel exceptionally lucky to live. They aren’t the people who gossip about appearances or would dream of putting someone down, or gossiping, or bad-mouthing, they are the people who show up with food and hugs, acceptance and love just when you need it.

When I think of who my children are surrounded by, who they watch their mother associate with and love, I realize I’m not getting it all wrong. Thank you for being part of that either by helping us, or being people we can look up to. My children often hear about the stories you share with me, of the trials you’ve overcome, and the words of encouragement you share. Thanks for the contant reminder life, friendship and love is more than a pool, or a night out, or how much you have. Thanks for being the pull back to positive after feeling like a total failure.

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