Thursday, 7 January 2016

My three year old taught me to accept myself. Thank you, son.

This post happened spur of the moment. I felt like writing so I'm getting a bit emotional on here. I'm talking about being a paraplegic. I may or may not have cried a lot while writing it. Proceed at your own caution, but that's my warning - we aren't chatting about kids activities, recipes, or 'fun' things.

I never know about these emotional or personal posts. I don't know if I share too much on here. Are you interested? Is it too intense? 

We've been getting a lot of attention lately. Something beautiful happened to my family. I can't share too many details yet, but we were on TV. We had to explain what happened last year. 

That my father in law was diagnosed with lung cancer. That he passed away. We talked about my accident, that I have to use a wheelchair now. That I'll never walk again. Damn. It sucks. 

The show and surrounding attention that came from it - an interview for a newspaper, questions from friends, family, etc all had to do with one big question - how do we manage to keep going with such a positive attitude? Oh, do we? I hadn't given it much thought before. 

I don't know quite how to respond to this. Positive attitude? I don't think I have a positive attitude at all. The reality of it is that this is so hard. The wheelchair is hard. I miss walking. I'm scared my husband will leave me now. I'm scared I'm failing my son because I can't play on the playground with him anymore. 

There are days when I cry. There are days when the constant pain, physical and emotional, that I feel is just too much. Moments when I feel like screaming because it's too much. Moments where I break down. There are days when I cry a lot. 

Mornings are usually the most difficult. I still have a lot of pain as a result of the accident. I don't want to take medication for it. Pills with morphine would impair my judgement. I need to be able to take care of my 3 year old during the day.  

The pain is bad then. In the morning. I usually wake up before everyone else because of it. Lay in bed. I hope the day won't start. Not just yet. Can we skip today? It hurts. I don't want to move. The pain is too intense and getting out of bed is hard. It's painful. I don't want to do anything. Not today. There's no point. I just can't. 

'Mama, can we go make some oatmeal?' A little voice usually calls from his bed. Six thirty in the morning. He's ready to go. He needs me. He doesn't care if I can walk. He doesn't care if I can reach the highest shelf. He doesn't care if I can go down a slide with him. He wants to make oatmeal. With me. 

That's when I jolt out of it. I know I have to get up now. There's a three year old, wide eyed little boy waiting for his day to start. He's looking at me to show him that I can get out of bed. Even when it's hard. He's worth it. 

It's not that I have a positive attitude. It's that my son has a positive attitude. On the days when I feel like giving up, he gives me the push I need to get myself together. He's inspired me. He's given me a reason to get out of bed. 

It's more than I just need to get out of bed to take care of him. I mean, he's a really 'Montessori kid' - the child makes his own breakfast, I just hang out in the kitchen with him. He just wants me around. 

Every morning, he gets out of bed, climbs on my lap, and gives me a hug. He says 'good morning' then runs off to brush his teeth. He's excited to see me. 

Throughout my process of healing and dealing with my injury, my three year old taught me to love myself again. He had so much faith that I could do things when I was so scared of failing. He had so much love for me when I couldn't stand to look in the mirror. He motivated me to get out of bed when I didn't think I had the strength. He was patient with me when I thought I was taking too long. 

'I can't play on the floor today,' I said said to him yesterday. The pain was so intense. I was scared I wouldn't have the strength to get back into my wheelchair. I was too tired. 

'Yes, you can,' he said to me without missing a beat. 

'No, honey, Mama can't today.' 

'We're going to play with cars. You can go on the floor. I'll help you.' He actually did. He got a little step stool for me and some pillows. You see, getting onto the floor for me costs so much energy that I rarely do it. 

He usually accepts if I say that I can't, but when he's persistent, I feel like I should try. If he believes in me, why can't I believe in myself? My three year old taught me to try difficult things. He taught me that I can do difficult things.  

And on days when I really, really can't get on the floor, we dump his toys on the couch. And build roads, gas stations, fire stations, and more! All of the lego duplo blocks on the couch? Why not? 

The crazy thing about kids is that they need us no matter what. Kids want their parents to love them. And kids love their parents. 

My son doesn't care if I'm in a wheelchair. He just wants to build a farm out of Lego together. He wants me to sing Old MacDonald to him. He wants me to read books to him. 

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This kid. This kid just loves me. Even if I lose my temper. Even when he sees that I'm in pain. Even if he sees me at my worst. Even then, I still get that hug every morning. 

Knowing that no matter what, no matter how lousy I feel about myself, that there's one little person that will love me unconditionally has given me the most positive attitude there can be. I mean, there aren't enough words to explain how intense that is. He doesn't see me as broken. He just sees mom. 

So I just want to take a moment and write a special thank you to my beautiful son. Thank you for helping me through this. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for teaching me so much. Thank you for helping me to stay positive. For showing me that whether I can walk or not, doesn't matter. Thank you.

I know, it will be okay. Getting out of bed is hard sometimes, but you know what? The reality of what happened to me is that I could have died. While I've had to mourn what I lost, most days now, I'm just grateful to be alive. I'm grateful to be able to spend time with my son. With my husband, who still loves me. 

And you know what? My family had a hard year last year, but in the end, we are truly blessed. Because we have each other. Because there are wonderful people in this world that have helped us. That have loved us. I feel so lucky. 

And really, just being around this kid puts me in a fabulous mood! 

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