im sitting down after re-heating my 2pm coffee, three times, so far. there's no school today because its president's day. i have cuddled on the couch while watching thomas, taken reese to PT, gone to the store with the others, let them play outside, i have prepped dinner, i made oatmeal and fruit breakfast bars. i have emptied the dishes from last night, re-loaded, and washed the dishes again. i started the laundry (re) ran the dryer, and swapped it again.
plans for the rest of the day include finishing naps and then going to aidan and sawyer's dance classes. then actually cooking dinner.
i only say this to explain to you that i am trying to get things done without stressing. without yelling at kids who aren't listening. and without guilt. i am trying to have a better today.
sometimes the guilt is deep down where i can't feel it, but sometimes its right at the surface and appear with tears down my cheeks.
i have guilt that i will do something today that i will regret later. that if something happened to reese, i will think to myself "i wish i didnt tell her she couldnt have ____ that one day. what was the point in that? why did i care?" the answer is because she is a 3 year old who needs boundaries. we've been told, up front, by doctors to treat her as "normal" as we can. i have guilt that because someone else needed something, another kid is wondering why i tended to that child first. when in reality, i make an effort to make sure that rarely happens. or i try to talk to the other child, afterward. i have haunting thoughts on good days that we may lose those days all too quickly. i feel guilty for sometimes being stressed and wanting to spend evenings, in quiet, alone, after spending an entire day answering questions from children 7 and under. after chatting about nothing adult-like. after being so touched-out, that i just want to sit in a bubble for a few minutes.
the guilt is opposed by appreciation. appreciation for my 4 perfectly healthy kids. appreciation for every day i spend with all 5 of them, together and the 7 of us, as a family. appreciation for reese's health and for what she has, so far, overcome. appreciation for being able to stay at home with them, every day.
sometimes i want someone to just tell me how to feel.
but instead, i end up stressed about things i can't control. i try to win a waging war of my emotions and direct them to a certain feeling. i cant feasibly do it, but i try. i get sad about things that haven't even happened, but possibility can sometimes beat out probability in the mind of a mother whose child is sick.
i love reading other bloggers' journeys, but this week was especially hard. two children became angels. i was reminded with abby's family (as i was with phoebe's) that sometimes there's nothing more a doctor can do - so you have to wait and soak in as much as you possibly can, when you can. jennifer's family reminded me of the horrible questions that some mothers have to ask themselves. i'd read and ask myself the same things she did --- "would i keep all of reese's laylees if she died?" "what would she wear?" other questions that i dont even want to type [but you can read them on her blog]... then, hurriedly, id click off the screen and come back to finish reading the blog later. no one should have to wonder those things.
if im being honest, i should have felt those "fleeting moment feelings", more often, long before reese was dx. but sadly, its hard to feel emotions about having things possibly taken away, without your life coming to the edge for a bit... then slowly backing off the edge into some sort of normal that resembles your previous life. only at that point, does it seem, that people start embracing every day.
no one told me that i would be flip flopping between those happy feelings and, then, negative feelings, along the road. sometimes i resent how busy i am and that no one around me truly "gets it". then i feel selfish for even saying that. everyone is busy. they have their own "busy" and who am i to say that they don't "get it". who cares how busy i am, anyway? i am doing it because i love my family and my kids, who are happy. i also don't really want anyone around me to understand this as well as i do.
im writing this because i finally broke down. i asked EJ to help me. none of how i feel can be fixed with someone watching the kids or cooking dinner or helping with anything else. only i can fix it. and so today i tried to do that.
i am planning for things to help the house run more smoothly. i prepped dinner early so we wouldnt have a stressful "oh damn, dinner isnt ready" evening after dance. i even got the ingredients for a meal EJ has been wanting me to make for a while - and im excited to try new recipes. our new plan is to eat out a lot less - and this past week, we have been doing great at it. i just dont want to wander away from this concept right away. i am choosing to wake up earlier, from now on, so i get things done before the kids wake up. i hate sending kids off to school, in a rush, because we didn't get up early enough and then didn't have time to just coast through the morning. i want to spend time together without me having to be on them the entire time, coercing them to the next item on their "to-do" list. teeth brushed, eat your food, did you grab a snack... i don't want to get in the car and then finally take a breath. i want to breathe with them.
i relaxed. this is always a work in progress - as i am 1. extremely laid back and conversely 2. easily stressed. all within the same period of time. today i realized everyone could watch movies while i cooked, and then, do naps later. today i remembered that everyone loves to help cook - so come on in! i unclenched while cooking, about the mess. and just cleaned it up at the end. i fed corbin on the couch and let the other 4 mess up my living room, knowing i could just have them help me clean it later, instead of micro-managing how much they brought out.
i'm not getting mad. sometimes i feel as if i shouldnt give the kids any leeway because then they'll take advantage - and with 5, that can't happen. i used to not think anything like this, yet as our schedules became more demanding and they got older and became ridden with more attitude, i thought it may help. but today, they showed me a valuable lesson: if you give them space, they can breathe - and make better choices. i have had some awesome helpers today, little amounts of whining, and more smiles and all i have done is said "yes" to a few minor things. they arent "getting whatever they want", but i tried not saying no to things i usually did that were based on principle. and we've all been a lot happier.
im also going to forgive myself, when i do feel angry. brush off and start again. no one is perfect.
i was woken up today by a 32lb bald kitty cat, named reese, meowing and kissing my face. thats all i need to think about. today is all that's important.
we arent guaranteed tomorrow. or even an hour from now. so, instead of hurrying to and through schools, events, doctors, i am going to try to slow down and change each moment and make more deliberate decisions based on how everyone feels about it and less "how can i make this easiest for me", because in the end, everyone happy IS what is easiest for us all. i started to become someone i wasnt. so hopefully this will bring me a heck of a lot closer to the few pieces that i miss from the old-normal.
and for today, i am shouting "reese is doing awesome!!" and i won't feel punched in the gut with the alternate possibilities. i will feel confident in doctors and prayer.