I want to tell you about PainDay #1. I mentioned before that I was doing MomStuff that day. Like meals. After eating with the kiddos, or let’s call it post-tornado, there was infinite debris scattered on, around, and under the table. Every. Single. Time. Thus I found myself sweeping...infinitely.
But I really didn’t sweep just because it was a disaster. I swept because I lived in mortal fear that the other moms in the neighborhood might just drop by unannounced and SEE the table from the front door. I felt enough anxiety over this that every morning after breakfast, while one child peered through the window by the door, waiting, yearning, shouting, “The kids! The kids, Mom!” as the million children of the neighborhood emerged on their bicycles, I swept. Every day. I never said, “Ah, heck, I’ll just skip it, enjoy the morning with the kiddos, do it when I come back in.” I had to finish it first. I swept and swept and swept until it was done, while his little heart stuttered in its beating with anticipation.
PainDay #1 found me about the same morning routine, but with a bit of a twinge in my pelvis. Unusual, unplaceable. But I was unstoppable. After all, I had sweeping to do. As the morning progressed, the pain did too, until, at about 4:00 in the afternoon, when I was, you guessed it, sweeping...again... I thought, “Wow, this is just really bad. I just don’t think I can do this any more.” And I set down the broom. Never to pick it up again at that house.
It makes my heart ache to write about this. Because, sweeping? Really? Because, why didn’t I take care of myself when I was hurting? Because why didn’t I care what my body was saying to me? Because why did I care more about what the other moms all around me would think of an unswept floor, more than I cared about myself? Or my kids?
The inability to sweep was just the beginning of the humiliations to come. In the coming SurgeryDays the moms in my circle would do more than sweep. They cleaned everything. They made meals. They watched my kids. Some were incredibly compassionate and loving. Some were achingly, humiliatingly judgemental. But at that point, I couldn’t leave my bed, so there was nothing I could do about it.
I wanted to tell you about PainDay #1 because it is such a clear illustration of my past life, of my prior priorities, of the things I want to change about myself.
I want to listen to my body. I want to not care what other humans think about me. I want my kids to be more important than the floor.
I have been forced to slow it down. And though it has been, quite frankly, hell, there is a gift in that hell. The gift is unhideable awkwardness. The gift is inability to do. The gift is being forced to choose. The gift is learning to listen to my body. The gift is having to go inside. The gift is all my bones being liquefied in the chrysalis and coming out a butterfly.