My head has not been a happy place lately. My heart has been heavy as well. Though I have lived with chronic pain for the last 27 years, over the last year and a half or so, the pain in my back and left hip has gotten so much worse, limiting the things I was previously able to do even more.
I am a stay-at-home mom. Taking care of my son, taking care of my home and the people that live there is my job. And just like when I worked outside the home, I take pride in my work, in doing a good job. A clean house makes me happy. Cooking a meal that my family and friends enjoy gives me a feeling of contentment. Shopping for the things we need — be it food, toiletries or just a fun treat — gives me a sense of purpose. Yet all these things have become increasingly difficult, sometimes impossible to do.
There are days when taking care of myself, much less anyone else is a struggle. I am an independent person, strong-willed and stubborn. I hate sitting there, seemingly lazy and watching others do the things I should be doing. It makes me feel ineffectual, incapable and impotent. It makes my heart hurt and the pain I am constantly in even more difficult to bear.
During one of these self-pity sessions, when I felt completely useless, someone very dear to me reminded me there are many things I am still able to do. So I put on my big girl undies, crawled out of my self-pity hole, and started thinking.
Yes, I am disabled. That is a fact. But I am also able. I am able to:
- love with all my heart
- cook for my family and friends, even if it’s not as creatively or time-consuming as it used to be
- grocery shop online, eliminating the additional pain, exhaustion and recovery time needed from actually walking around the store
- clean my house in increments, doing small jobs spread out over days rather than hours
- use my mind: reading, writing, playing word games, helping my son with his homework, using math calculations when I cook
- drive: I can drive my son to and from school or playdates
- be a good friend. I may not be able to go out like I used to — even hanging out at someone’s house that isn’t my own is difficult — but through phone calls, texts and social media, I can communicate with people I hold dear to me and let them know my door is always open
- be the best mom I can be. My physical limitations do not limit my love for my son or prevent me from being the best parent I am capable of being
- doing the little things that bring me joy and lift my heavy heart: caring for my plants, crocheting a blanket or sitting in the warm sun, watching the stars start to appear as the sky turns from dusk to night
Related: If My Scars Could Talk
I am independent
I am strong-willed and stubborn
I am strong
I am able