One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how life twists and turns. Just when I think I've mastered the whole thing, there we go again.
I had to babysit overnight the other night, and I had woken up with what I call classic fibro fog--it's kind of an out of body experience--and I didn't want to go. It didn't take long for the tears to start and I cried off and on before I got there, and then after the children went to bed I cried some more. Sobbing is more accurate. Big, shaking sobs. My whole body was in pain by that point and I was dizzy and nauseous, pain radiating through my back and shoulder muscles. The intensity was horrific, and through my sobs, I found myself wondering if I would ever be able to work again. Sometime around midnight I called my mother, a hair shy of hysterical. I was scared, I told her. What if this is my life and it never gets any better? What if I end up on disability? I felt so useless. My mother assured me that I wasn't useless, that things would get better. And that it was okay. After several more tear-filled minutes, I hung up the phone, only to hear a little voice beside me.
"Mama, you're not useless."
My daughter had come with me to babysit. She didn't understand why I was crying (hell, I didn't understand why I was crying), but she knew I was suffering and she wanted to make it better.
When I was thirteen, my mom was about forty-one, or my age now. I remember my dad going on a business trip and me being alone with my mom while she wept from stress. I remember hugging her and feeling scared and helpless. I had sworn I would never do that to my children. Yet here I was, shaking and crying in the middle of the night, with my twelve-year old holding my hand and reassuring me that I had a purpose. And all I could say to her was, "I'm sorry."
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for crying? I'm sorry for sucking as a mom? I'm sorry that I'm always too tired or too sore or too pitiful to do anything anymore? I'm sorry that I'm being such a baby.
I seem to spend a lot of time dreading the time I have to spend doing something I don't want to do. I spend a lot of time worrying or working myself up into a tizzy. I spend the time I have that could be good dreading the time that will inevitably be bad. I don't know how to change that, but I don't want my kids growing up with the same attitude or the same struggles.
unfinished; published 6/23/11