The kids have been gone since last Friday!  It has felt like a very long time but they will be home tomorrow and I am really looking forward to their safe arrival.

I have learned some valuable lessons this week that sort of caught me off guard.  I never realized before just how important respite is when dealing with a chronic illness.  There comes a point when you reach a level of information saturation.  It feels like all you accomplish in a day is getting to the next doctor appointment, sorting out the 60 or so pills for the day.  On top of all that, add in the phone calls from specialists summing up another defect they stumbled upon then before hanging up the phone, hearing their standard line, "Don't worry about any of this until we figure out exactly what it means."  Okay, sure thing, no problem... don't worry and then... someone asks when your going to finally find a job!

Sure it seems it all becomes part of the day, as common as doing the laundry.  I tuck the chronic worry in the back of my mind and try to move on.  Always moving on.  Always keeping a smile on my face because I can't allow all the chaos and confusion surrounding their health problems to suffocate us, worry the kids. I have become a champ at 'stuffing' the worry, the problems and moving on to make sure everyone is well adjusted and happy regardless of the toll it takes on me. When one of the kids breaks down and cries in undertones of worry and fear to ask if they are going to die, I carry a tender smile in my pocket, a reassuring voice, and a gentle touch that lets them know that everything is fine and I do all that while choking back my own tears of uncertainty.  It's hard but it's the only way to manage such powerful things.

This week, while the kids were gone, I felt a release from my role as mother and caregiver.  That doesn't happen very often and I was left wondering how I would survive without the two things that have defined me for so long!  I didn't have to be the shock absorber.  I didn't have to be sure to carry around my cheerful countenance. I guess in a way, you could say I lost my stuffing.  All those feelings I stuffed came out this week because they could, I was all alone.  I had lots of quiet time to come to terms with things, handle things I have had to put off and even go to the doctor to attend to some of my own health problems that had to take a back seat to the kids.  I took inventory of my mental and emotional health.  I discovered that lots of things need to change. 

One morning, I woke up and felt like the four walls of my room had closed in on me.  I felt like Alice in her wonderland of being oversized in ridiculously tight quarters.  My room is also my office.  The place where I pay bills or more accurately, stare at the bills to be paid.  Where Shelbie does her photo editing, where I blog.  It's the command central of our home.  I try to keep it organized but it still represents so much stress.  No wonder I don't sleep at night.  No wonder I can't focus or pay attention anymore.  I decided that was my first step in change. 

I emptied a closet in the hall, I dismantled my desk which was an antique door, I moved out the filing cabinets and the old rocking chair my ex husband had given me some time ago when my kids were babies.  I don't need reminders of him cluttering my life anymore either!  My project isn't done but already, I can see how much better this room is going to be.  My sanctuary!  My escape when I need a moment to catch my breath and reassure myself that everything is going to be okay.  It will become a place where I can meditate and be directed by God. 

With all these changes, and I will post pictures of my redesigned life soon, I am feeling rested.  I feel like I have worked a lot things out emotionally and I'm ready to be engaged again.  I didn't address one medical issue of the kids' this week.  I didn't talk to the insurance company like I was suppose to.  I didn't follow up with doctors, I didn't do one thing pertaining to my jobless status or the declining health of my kids.  Most importantly, I said 'no' to some things I knew would just add to my overwhelm this week.  That's a hard one for me.  Anways, to end this long story, I feel calmer as the kids come home and school starts up this week.  I haven't felt this way in forever I think...and though it may be fleeting, I am glad I experienced it.


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