I should qualify all this by saying that I was a font of sage advice but I was really lousy about using that knowledge in my own life. In fact, I made all the wrong decisions when it came to my own path. I dropped out of school. I had every intention of getting pregnant at sixteen and succeeded, brilliantly. I dated abusive losers and ‘dealt’ with it using alcohol. I grew into a career welfare-mom - which, for the record, I have no prejudice or bias against, but it was a cop- out for me. I didn’t choose stay-at-home mom-hood because that’s what I really wanted to be. I chose it because I was too afraid to try anything else.
Any time I have stepped outside of my comfort zone, I’ve let my anxiety eat at me until my only option was ‘disability.’ If wallowing were an Olympic sport, I’d have a trophy room full of gold medals. Never have I pushed through the intense ‘I don’t want to…’ until this past September. I think the difference this time was that I didn’t have a choice. There was no bail-out, no crutch, no magical way back to quasi-safety. My family was vulnerable and I was their salvation.
Transition is never easy. At first, I thought I was dying and then, when I didn’t die, I wished I would. I spent a few weeks there, in that hellish place. During that time, even when I had good weeks my days off were stressed by thoughts of having to go ‘back to that place.’ And then, without really noticing, I was okay. Not only that but my life was changing in ways I hadn’t even imagined.
Flip to today. I spent my morning getting Kitten to her swim lesson (it’s a 13-26 minute drive, depending on highway traffic) by 11, and subsequently chatting it up with home-schooling Moms until noon. Wolf was up sick most of the night so it was just me, today. At the lesson’s end, Kitten took her requisite 15 minutes to change out of her swim gear Then we drove 20 minutes back home to eat lunch and pick up Wolf so we could head back into town to do a “whack of running around” that he needed to get done.
During this time I had my first of two epiphanies. We had been walking for about two and a half hours when Wolf asked me if I was okay with being out all day. I replied that I was no longer thinking of my Tuesday/Wednesday weekend as ‘days off.’ After all, life doesn’t stop so it makes more sense to think of it as ‘days not at work.’ Wolf commended me on the overall mental health in that statement and I’ve been repeating it to myself ever since, hoping that I will feel better about it the more it reverberates through my head.
A couple of hours later we were eating dinner. Wolf had shovelled a forkful of piping hot food into his mouth. When he exhaled trying to cool his mouth, he shot steam worthy of a dragon from his lips. We all laughed and I tried to do the same thing but my food had cooled too much. I said, “If that had worked for me, this place would be way too cold.” That is the moment the second revelation hit. I realized that it wasn’t too cold in our house. That was the first time I had ever had that thought during winter months.
We do keep our house cool, about 15C - that’s 59F if you’re Imperial. This year, due to unforeseen growth, I have taken to wearing weather appropriate clothing. This means no more shorts and tank tops, even in the house. I wear slippers, with or without socks. It’s the wildest thing.
So, throughout this growth phase of mine, I somehow moved beyond a sense of entitlement I didn’t even know I had. Will the wonders ever cease?!