I wake up most Monday mornings with a plan. As I drink my coffee I tell myself this week is going to be different. I’m going to finally tackle one of the many Pinterest projects I’m dieing to do. I’m going to finally clean out the mud room so it can be used for something other than housing junk. I’m going to accomplish something.
And like so many other Monday mornings, my week didn’t start as planned. I spent most of the morning battling with my almost threenager with major attitude because she thought the bananas I just bought needed to be peeled, squished, and smeared across her bedroom floor. She accomplished that mess while I was going room to room gathering dirty laundry for the first load of the day. By the time the mess was cleaned up and the first load of clean laundry was on the line, it was lunch time.
I was feeling a mixture of Monday blues and sinus blah, so I decided we would make sandwiches and head out to the pool to relax for a bit. I fixed Aubrey’s food and had just started putting my own sandwich together when I quickly realized it wasn’t the Monday blues at all. I was feeling the beginnings of a migraine.
I sneezed, and when I opened my eyes I was greeted with the zigzag lines of scintillating scotoma that are all too familiar…the aura that always hits me right before a full blown migraine. I’m thankful the really horrible ones don’t hit me very often, but when my eyes go wonky I know I’m in for a doozy.
My migraines always follow a pattern, and for the most part I can time how long each “stage” will last. I immediately started mentally counting how much time I had before I would find myself curled up in bed with an ice pack on my neck and the lights off praying for the pain to subside. 15-20 minutes of feeling partially blind, viewing the world through the screen of a fuzzy black and white tv with zigzag lines followed by spilling my guts to the porcelain god. If I was lucky I would have a stage of feeling lightheaded and weak with mild pain before the full fledged skull bursting pain started.
Both of our cars are still in the shop, so I had already arranged to have a friend go with me to pick up Ellie today. But, because she isn’t on the emergency pick up list I would have to be in the car or the school wouldn’t release her. I was just thankful I didn’t have to drive. By the time my vision returned and the vomiting ended, I had just enough time to walk Aubrey next door to my grandparents’ before my friend arrived to go get Ellie from school. I took my headache meds and pulled out my emergency stash of Dr. Pepper. I don’t drink soda very often, but it seems to be a lifesaver for a quick influx of caffeine during a migraine.
I was in tears from the pain by the time I made it back home with both kids. Oh how I wish I could have left them with my Nana until Ben arrived home from work, but just like with my anxiety, my Nana doesn’t believe in migraines. I watched my mom suffer with both migraines and anxiety for years with my Nana telling everyone it was all in her head!
No, Nana, both are horrible, very real, and I have the unfortunate luck to suffer from both.
All I wanted to do was curl up in bed for the hours it took for the pain to go away, but as a mom of 2 little ones that can’t always happen. I admit I let Netflix babysit, and I even temporarily lifted our household Caillou ban to keep the girls happy. That is the one “kid show” I seriously can’t stand.
I curled up on the couch with my neck on an ice pack and a pillow over my head trying to stay alert enough to parent. I laid there like that through 2 dreaded episodes of Caillou and was just about to tell Ellie to start the next episode when she surprised me. She took Aubrey by the hand, led her sister to their room, and I heard my sweet 6 year old explaining to her almost 3 year old sister that she needed to take a nap for Mommy’s sake. And guess what…Aubrey listened. After Aubrey was asleep Ellie wandered back into the living room, kissed me on the forehead, and said “let’s get you in bed, Mama.”
We curled up on her bed together, and the 3 of us napped until Ben came home work. Aside from waking me up long enough to check on me when waking the kids, my wonderful husband let me sleep the evening away until the pain subsided. Hours later my body is still weak even though I can’t get my brain to go back to bed.
Today left me wondering when did my innocent little 6 year old grow up? When did she start putting my needs before her own wants? On the day I was feeling like such a failure because I couldn’t physically be everything my kids needed, she showed me I must be doing something right to grow her little compassionate heart.
No, I didn’t accomplish anything I wanted to do to, but I did learn a few things. Some days it’s okay to say I can’t do it. It’s okay to step away from the hands on parenting and sit on the sidelines watching for my own health. My kids are fed, safe, and happy, and that’s what matters when I can’t physically be everything they need. Most of all, it’s okay to realize some days I need my daughter’s help just as much as she needs me, and it’s okay to let her help me when I’m at my worst. It’s not stealing her innocence. It’s just another life lesson that everyone isn’t okay 100% of the time, and that means Mommy, too.
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