Let’s face it, the holidays can be a rough time for the best of us. There’s lots of rushing and buying and the need for perfection has reached the high of the year.
On December 17th, 2019, I received a huge gift of stem cell therapy. Perhaps it’s not the most scientifically backed procedure and nearly a week of violent shivering had me thinking I had made a terrible decision despite implicitly trusting the medical professional who did it. I’ve made a lot of bad medical decisions over the past nearly 4 years simply due to the fact, I make them alone. I have also made huge neurological gains that I forgot in my shivering self.
I have found an incredible support system, but they don’t know my health history enough to make decisions with me. A little over a year ago, I had my thoracic spine fused that causes me more pain than prior to surgery. It was going to “cure” my ability to walk normal. An amazing miracle! (If you see my profile picture, I’m now in a wheelchair most of the time) I realize nothing can be done about my spine. I’ve lived with back pain since childhood, so it’s one of those things.
So that brings me to today. I have been shivering and sweating and chilled then burning hot for nearly a week. I had one good day. The rest were spent in bed so weak from fatigue and having zero appetite that I was honestly scared. It’s not like you can just pluck the stem cells out. I called my primary care a bit panicked yesterday as I was shivering so much, I shivered myself out of bed and gave myself a good bruise. I didn’t get a call back making me feel stupid for calling as those old trauma messages come back in your head. For all I know, she got busy, didn’t get the message, or maybe they all sat around having a good laugh at my panic (ok, I highly doubt the last one).
Regardless, today was Christmas Eve day and was able to make myself some nutrient dense food.
I even made a “Christmas casserole” that I just changed many ingredients to be anti inflammatory and added way more vegetables.
I knew my Christmas Eve plans were already a no go. My yoga teacher held a special Christmas Eve morning class today that I couldn’t get to as I needed to rest. A 75 minute iyengar yoga class is REALLY hard work.
So I was happy to stay home. I made myself a detox bath, got in, and began to read a new Barbara Kingsolver book on my kindle. She’s been a favorite fiction author of mine since college. I was happily detoxing and reading when a text comes through, “Lizzie, I ordered you dinner and tried to make it simple so you can eat it”. This woman and I have a very special connection that I can discuss another time with her permission, but the part that was so thoughtful was that she knew I had been having a rough time this week healthwise and lives 9 hours away and ordered for me anyway.
After my dinner arrived, a newer friend stopped by after church who also knew I had a hard week. She is a lovely person and does an amazing job at being a single mom. So the three came in my house. I was joyous to see them, especially as I truly believed my Christmas Eve was going to be me, in my bath, with my book. I was ok with it. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just didn’t feel well.
Her son saw my yoga stuff I always have put in my part of the living room. He said he always wanted to try yoga and kept saying he wanted to do it. I figured I needed a good stretch and yoga with kids is just fun. I used to take my son to a family yoga class that he would complain about, until after when he would talk about how “zen” he felt.
So I did yoga with these kiddos tonight and gave their wonderful, but overly critical single mom (of herself as she is really great) a break to just be (or so I hope).
She reminds me a lot of me when I was a working single mom. I was overly critical of myself as a mother, I constantly apologized for my smaller child’s behavior to others as he was free spirited. Her children are a little that way too and love it.
So of course I’m terribly missing my own son this holiday season who was unjustly ripped from me (or maybe it was just, but I just got completely blocked instead of communicating like I asked).
Regardless as these two little children were hugging me tight as they arrived and left at the same time, I put all doubts of my mothering aside. Instead of analyzing what I did wrong, gave myself huge accolades for what I did right.
In a time of screens and phones and video games , which are very important to kids now, I’m grateful I limited it and taught my son the little things like using yoga to manage your anxiety, including him in my gratitude practice, getting him outside as much as I could, showing him feelings were ok, and was just beginning to teach him the basic concepts of what spirituality is. No worries moms, he got plenty of screen time too. I’m not perfect!
He might have been ripped from me. There might be stories going around how I abandoned him as I was too sick. I know for awhile, the story was I was too “crazy”. I’m pretty transparent about my “crazy”, so some might be fooled, but when people tell me I’m the sanest person they have ever met, I feel good. These are people who know I have real feelings, fears, sadness, anger, as well as constantly working to embrace what’s good and work to operate from gratitude.
Tonight, being with those two sweet little children and looking at a mom who was once me, I’m grateful to be in their lives. I’m grateful they are in mine. I’m grateful that so many would check on me on a holiday that is about family and include me in theirs when I don’t really have one.
I will see my son again someday. I see it constantly in my yoga meditations and often I wake up in the middle of the night with a vision, not a dream of us reuniting. I don’t know how or when.
Tonight was a very merry Christmas Eve for me. I might not be with my sweet angel of a son but, I got to spend time with children showing them what I love with plenty of giggles for the kids and I as well as mom too.
Nice to be reminded that you don’t have to be perfect to be phenomenal.
Happy holidays. If it isn’t happy, I’ve been there too. Only a week away and everyone can join a gym, go on a diet, and quit smoking, for a week at least for their New Years resolution. I’ll blog on that BS as it grows closer.
Look for those tiny moments you can hold onto. So during the next week when my trauma brain takes over and I think no one cares about me, I’ll remember the big squeeze of these two little ones when I was just going to take a bath and read my book this Christmas Eve.