Well you haven’t heard from me in a while, and for that I am sorry. I’ve been trying to write this entry for the last month. I have had five different drafts going. You see I have had a life shifting experience over the last two months, and I wasn’t quite sure how to explain what happened. So once again I took the advice that I received in Grade Four from my favourite teacher Mr. Duxbury, “Just start at the beginning Katie and the rest will flow.”
After my Grandma passed away in January, it really made me appreciate everyone in my life just a little bit more. There is a high chance we will be posted this year, and while I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to experience a new city, I realize that I may not get a next time with my friends and family, no “sorry I missed your birthday, but I’ll catch it next year” type of a thing. So I made a decision right then and there to take advantage of every opportunity I could to be a great daughter, sister, friend, etc. This positive thinking was something I had been lacking for a while, but I wasn’t going to realize just how negative I had been until the following events unfolded.
A few weeks after my grandma died, while I was walking down the stairs at home with my son, my ridiculous dogs were fighting yet again, and tripped me as they ran past us. I fell and landed hard on my lower back, but caught my son. I was pretty sore for a few days, but counted my lucky stars that it wasn’t worse. Two weeks later, I lifted my son into his highchair and then collapsed on the floor in pain – I would learn later that I had a herniated disc.
I was blessed to have help from my sister who moved in for a few days along with her 9-month old son. My poor little man didn’t understand why mommy wasn’t herself and able to take care of him, so he was frustrated a lot, which was heartbreaking. I couldn’t look after my son, my home, my dogs, and I wasn’t much help to anyone; basically I felt completely useless in every role of my life. I fell deep into “poor-me” syndrome.
Here I was a year later, and in the exact same position – husband away, alone with a baby (now toddler), back injury from a fall down stairs, and feeling useless. I was angry and frustrated and it opened up a lot of feelings that I‘d had over the last year.
I had always wanted to be a mom. I expected to fall in love, get married, have children, and also have a career – picture perfect right? It was the in the details that I got lost (yes Mom I get the irony in that statement). In my picture perfect life I had hoped to be indulged those final months of pregnancy (cravings, foot rubs, etc.), then losing all the baby weight, have other mom friends to hang out with and get advice from, and have my husband home to share in the joys and trials of raising our son.
I also had dreams of making the “Top 30 Under 30” list in our city as I had big plans for my career in Public Relations. Well… none of that happened, but it had for almost everyone around me (maybe not all 30 under 30, but they definitely rocked their own careers). I didn’t realize how much I had been holding onto the all sore feelings that came along with the disappointment in those “failures,” and it had been seeping its way into every aspect of my life.
So after opening that huge wound, it led to a bit of a meltdown phone call to my husband who then thankfully sent in reinforcements - my amazing mother-in-law. She drove up the next day and stayed for a week to help with my son. I was able to attend physiotherapy and rest my back; just having her here relieved so much stress.
When she left, the pain was manageable and my emotions were back in check. I began to think about that night I called my husband and I laughed and I laughed. No I did not have a mental breakdown; I had an “AH HA!” moment. I realized that I had let an essential part of me die for a bit; “the eternal optimist” as my Grandpa Hank once described me in an email. I am not a “poor-me” type of person. If I have a problem, I look at all possible solutions and focus on what I can control or have influence on and go from there. I really missed that person.
It suddenly occurred to me that all the negativity and frustration that has been building up over the last year, was mainly due to superficial, now silly little things. When I was in pain and just trying to handle each day, it didn’t matter that I had 20 pounds left to lose or whether or not I had extra mommy friends, and it really didn’t matter what I was or wasn’t doing with my career. All that mattered was that even though I was in pain – it would end, and my son, husband, and I were healthy. I have friends and family that love and care about me (some that even dropped their own lives to help mine).
I have never been a religious person, but I have always believed in one simple rule that I set out for myself when I was 18: Everything I do for myself will die with me, but everything I do for someone else will live on in them.
Last March I turned 30 and I expected great things to happen, but I had equated that with things that ended up being frivolous and caused me to temporarily lose sight of what really mattered and the great things that did happen.
So now that I’ve had my “AH HA!” moment, what do I do? I’ll start this next year of my life surrounded by those I love… and the rest, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
(P.S. If you’ve had an “AH HA!” moment.)