When I chose the URL for the blog it was when I was working hard at trying to come out of being Alyssa’s advocate and gravitate toward enjoying my time as a wife and mother in a more “typical” stance. I think since the blog began I have done a better job at taking the time to rejoice in the kid who Alyssa is while still searching for avenues to make her life the best it can be and pushing her to take the next step in her own time. There are certainly days where I feel more like an advocate than a mother but they are fewer and farther between. Over the last few months our lives have gravitated to a place that, while not typical, is certainly far easier on all of us than life has been in the past. One thing I’ve realized over the last four years, eek…FOUR YEARS, is that as the BIG problems subside there are typically small problems that become more visible and manageable. It’s the getting over an allergic reaction to a med and realizing that the vomiting you’ve been battling has been caused by inflammation, it’s the seizures subsiding and realizing that muscle tension needs to be dealt with… really it’s just the massive amounts of stress that you don’t even realize you’re dealing with being relieved and allowing you to see something that wasn’t entirely visible before.
This time it was something I didn’t even realize needed to be looked at. This time? It took a whole lot more admitting that I didn’t have things nearly as put together as I wanted to. Really… this time? It took admitting that until I take the time to take care of myself? I’m eventually going to run out of steam to take care of the little girl who we are working so hard to provide the best life possible for. This time? It wasn’t about Alyssa. This time was about… me. We’ve all heard it said “You can’t take care of anyone else until you first take care of yourself.” The thing is that it is sometimes hard to remember… and even more challenging to actually execute. As we go through life we get pulled in numerous directions. We get pushed to the breaking point. We have more asked of us than we ever thought we had to give. Then… when things settle, when the dust fades, and when we are left with a calm situation we truly get a chance to see what’s under it all.
To put it lightly the last six months have been a whirlwind. Between beginning chiropractic care, allergy elimination, intolerance testing, etc etc and on and on things were completely different from what they had been prior. However… like most phases of life… we’ve fallen into a new “normal” and I will say that I think it had become my most favorite “normal” to date. On the other hand feeling so confident in the little girl who I was spending my days with gave me a chance to slow down enough to realize how little confidence I had in the woman I had become. It caused me to sit and truly realize how far I’d gotten as Alyssa’s mom and at the same time how far away I’d gotten from Jessica. It’s not as if I feel it is a bad thing to be the best mom I can be… it’s more that I realized I wasn’t being the best mom I could be… because I certainly wasn’t caring for myself. You’d think that realizing it would be the hardest part but it certainly wasn’t. The hardest part? Was saying something out loud. It was cutting through my sarcastic exterior and letting someone see me “raw.” It was coming to terms with the fact that in order to get back to the confident self-assured person I once was … I was going to have to put in the work.
I fumbled with where to begin. I didn’t say anything to anyone for a while. I took time to process. I wrote some privately. I struggled to find a way to get back to the peace that I once felt while not giving up on taking care of our little girl or my husband. Then? I took the first outward step. On 1/11/11 I walked into the chiropractor’s office but for the first time… I was there for myself. The thing is that as much as life throws challenges our way God has always had a way of sprinkling these amazing people into the challenges and making them seem so much more manageable. Dr K? Is one of those people. Even when I wasn’t going in for me… I never walked out the front door without taking something away. I danced around it for a couple of weeks but in my heart of hearts I knew it was the right place to be. It was actually harder than I’d imagined it would be but by the end of it… I felt a sense of relief that I’d not felt in a long time. It was a long talk with a good friend who just so happened to have the skills and ability to help me cope. The anxiety that I’d felt about saying something out loud and having someone think I was a horrible person? Well… that was gone. After the first adjustment… and the few that followed… I was exhausted. It was an exhaustion I don’t even really think I can explain. It was as if the emotions of months, maybe years, were coming out in minutes and completely wiping my energy level. However, it was somehow a good? exhaustion. I felt like my body was working toward healing.
Healing? It seems silly because it isn’t as if I had anything visible that needed to be healed. I was functioning… getting through the days… and living life. On this inside? Things were just not where they needed to be. Luckily that first step was the most challenging. Dr. K did an amazing job of not overwhelming me with a huge game plan but instead establishing baby steps. At first making appointments for myself was a struggle, but now I sincerely look forward to “my” time! Then… this week? Something amazing happened. It was almost as if… and yes this will be cheesy… my soul woke up. I’ve been trying to find the words to explain it but that’s as close as I can get. There have been times in the past where I focus on my body image… I want the outside to be in “good shape” and then the inside will follow. This time? I feel like the inside is getting knocked into shape and dragging the outside along with it. I’ve been doing breathing exercises upon waking and prior to sleeping and getting at least an hour of exercise in each day. For the first time in my life I don’t feel like exercise is a chore. This morning I couldn’t wait to get outside to walk. Then when Alyssa was restless after school instead of getting frustrated I simply took another walk. This evening? Same thing! We walked to the park, Neil joined us, and the three of us went on a walk together. Granted the weather was exceptional today, but the thing is… I WANTED to be out in it.
I feel like I’m taking baby steps for sure but they are all in the right direction. The amazing side effect of taking care of myself? Not only am *I* happier but so is the rest of my family. Alyssa has shared my calm this week. It will never cease to amaze me how much Alyssa’s moods are dependent upon my own… or how hard that is for me to see when I’m having a difficult day. Don’t get me wrong. She still has emotional moments… as I’m certain I will too. I’m not expecting to never have a rough day again… I’m just expecting them to be fewer and farther between. The thing is… I’m trying harder. I’m starting every day knowing that I’m doing the best for my family by doing the best for myself. I don’t think there’s a feeling better than that one! It gives me the opportunity to savor moments when my daughter’s entire body is filled with joy and allow that joy to seep into me as well.
Not that it would be possible to NOT smile when that’s the giggly happy lady that you start your day with. It’s just… I don’t think that smile would have been there this morning if I didn’t walk through that office door a few weeks ago. I’m so grateful for friends, both professional and not, who love me for who I am, tell it like it is, and at the end of the day? help me find the strength to take the next baby step. Here’s hoping the path we are walking continues to be filled with more good days than bad! I think that’s really all I could ask for in this life! I’m going to work hard on trying harder to find the good in every.single.day! ❤