Invisible Pain

Hi everyone!  Charlotte set a new record in the wee hours of the morning today, 26⁰ out this morning!  Yikes!  It broke the record of 27⁰ from 126 years ago!  Now that’s cold!  Our oldest son has the next week & a half off from school, so today we’re taking full advantage of staying cozy in pjs and slowing down our lives for the day.  We all need those days once in a while, right?

Anyway, I realize that I never really explained to you what my life is like. I’ll be honest, straight forward, and descriptive.  I’m disabled, permanently.   <gasp! And you want to adopt?>  Yes, that’s right.  I am one heck of a mama, too.  Toot! Toot! {that was my very own horn}   Sure, I have days every now & then that I question my mothering capabilities, but recently in a meeting with a bunch of women in the women’s ministry I belong to, I realized that literally every single mother questions herself from time to time.  Sure, friends of mine have mentioned it here & there, but this group proved to me that we ALL question ourselves.  Do you know why?  Because we, as women, want to be perfect versions of ourselves.  We do this to ourselves from an early age, too.  Am I wearing the right clothes?  Does my hair look right?  Is my make-up smudged?  Did I really just leave the house without make-up?  (Okay, most days I DO leave the house without make-up, since having children, lol.  I cared at first, but now, I can’t be bothered to care about such unimportant details.)  Then we enter motherhood, and the questions now are; will he behave if I take him to a restaurant?  Will she be nice to the other kids at preschool or daycare?  Is he strong enough to stand up for himself?  Have I given her the tools she needs to feel confident in all she does?  Do I spend enough time on the floor playing with my children?  Was I on my iPad too much today?  Are we spending enough time reading & writing?

You get my point.  We all question ourselves.  Now, here’s a little known secret I’d like to share with you all.  WE ARE IN FACT ALL PERFECT VERSIONS OF OURSELVES!  Stop doubting yourself, if you know you’re doing almost your best (because let’s face it, there’s always at least a little room for improvement, that’s what keeps us going!), then you’re Mom of the year in my book!  Moms are in fact superheroes.  True story.

Okay, so back to the details of my health.  I have Chronic Intercostal Neuralgia and Fibromyalgia.  I have interesting days, to say the least.  What’s great is, I’m given the choice each day I’m blessed with, to either wear my pain on my face for all to see, or slap a smile on this freckle-filled face and take charge of my day!  I bet you can guess what I pick!  Yup!  Who wants to waste time being miserable?  Not this girl!  Sure, the pain is awful, but it’s mine.  It’s all mine and it’s mine every day, so it is just me.  It’s really all I know.  I don’t know what it’s like to live a day without pain.  I don’t know what it’s like to be able to go run several errands in the morning, then go to an amusement park in the afternoon, then go out to dinner with friends in the evening.  (Honestly, that would tire even the healthiest of superhero moms, admit it!)  So, I plan out my days.  Two days ago, I had a busy morning that consisted of getting gas (easy, right?  NOT!  The paper was empty at the pump and I’d purchased a car wash, so I had to unstrap my 2 yr old & go inside to get my receipt…for a healthy mom, annoying; for me, it cost a spoon-I’ll explain those soon).  After the gas, I went to Target to buy a bucket for an Easter egg hunt at my son’s school.  Did they have buckets?  NOPE!  So now my 2 yr old & I head to Party City (this was NOT in the spoon planning I’d done earlier in the morning) to get a bucket.  After that, I had to stop at Lowe’s to get seed trays so I could finish my planting (we’re selling herb/produce plants and then the crops we produce all season as part of our adoption fundraising).  By now, I was in a ton of pain, but still smiling!   We get home, have lunch, and then head back out to pick up my 4 yr old from preschool.  (The average woman probably thinks it’s obnoxious getting her child in & out of the car seat.  For me, getting my child(ren) in & out of their car seat costs spoons).  We get home, I get the boys upstairs, we read a couple of stories and they take a nap.  Normally, in this time frame I’d push myself onto the elliptical  (bitter sweet, getting/staying fit can help us be healthy, but it also costs spoons!).  This day, however, I went straight for the recliner with my heating pad.  I remained there for as much of nap as I could, so that I could get back to being a superhero once my kids were up.  It’s all about time management.  Normally, I wouldn’t do so many errands in one day, but sometimes, these things do happen.

What I’m trying to explain is, yes, I’m disabled.  However, my disabilities do NOT interfere with me being a good mom.  I’m not happy to be in excruciating pain every day, but I’m thrilled that because of that pain, I get to be a stay-at-home-mom.  You see, God does provide.  I don’t dwell on the bad stuff, why would I?  I have a loving husband and two beautiful children to live for, and hopefully sooner than later, I’ll have a third child to love unconditionally.

No, there’s no cure for me, but my condition is not life threatening.  It’s never going to require me to be living in assisted care, in a hospital, or anything like that.  It stinks, but it is what it is and I’m okay with it.  I truly am at peace with it.  Do you know why?  You should!  I’m okay with it because while it’s taking away from some things, it’s giving me others.  I may have to sit on the sidelines while my husband takes the kids on the rollercoasters (my Mom did, and I never thought she was less of a mother for it…in fact, I stayed with her because I was a total Mama’s Girl), and I may not be able to go do bumper cars, but I can do so many things with my children.  Did you know leprechauns have green pee?  It’s true!  Come look in our toilets on St. Paddy’s Day!  Have you witnessed the wonder and amazement in a child’s eyes when they see the seeds they planted, grow into seedlings, then eventually bear fruit?  Have you helped a child learn to balance on those curbs at the grocery store, and see the pride in their eyes when they reach the other side?  THIS is what life is about.  It’s not about who’s mom can do the best braids, or who’s mom can drive a bumper boat, it’s about who’s mom is present in life, no matter what the experiences that family participates in are.  Be present.  Be fulfilled.

Now, go read Christine Miserandino’s, The Spoon Theory.  It’s amazingly insightful.  If you know anyone at all with a disability, visible or not (like my invisible disability), I promise you will have a new understanding of their day-to-day life.  Thank you for taking the time to understand me.  God bless you all.


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