Moms Columns & Blogs

Bed rest, just in time...

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It really is like some sort of never-ending nightmare, navigating through the demands of each day as if everything were the same.  I never thought to be a master of make believe, yet here I am, imitating the woman I used to be, pushing my family to do the same as we wander about, lost in this valley of shadows and sorrow…  

In February (2008), I underwent minor outpatient surgery; it took me longer to recover than anticipated.  Several things happened while I was confined to my bed…an unexpected upheaval at work, and an epiphany about our teenagers.  At the time things seemed so challenging…but looking back on it now, I thank God for it all…  

Early into my convalescence, a new person was brought in to take over many of my job duties.  It was a surprise…and it hurt my feelings.  As I lay there, an unwilling horizontal hostage, nursing my bruised ego and damaged self esteem, I decided to build a bridge and get over it.  In the long run maybe it would turn out better for my family than I thought.  It’s not like I was given any choice in the matter, and I had been extremely unhappy with things there anyway…  I was the walking definition of stress…constant deadlines, endless requests, time-distance challenges, over commitments, personality conflicts, money management…  With a start, I realized I had given too much of myself to the job, at the expense of so many other things.  There was much more to me and my life than this place…my priorities were seriously out of line.  

On one of the Friday afternoons of my confinement, Brian came rushing in after school; he completely forgot I was home.  He vaulted up the stairs, complaining to his friend, ‘I gave him my last ten dollars for an eighteen pack and now he’s not answering.  Man…he won’t answer the phone.  That’s bull****…he’d better answer it soon or I…’  His voice trailed off as he reached the landing and realized that I just heard every single word he uttered.  My knee-jerk reaction was to start fussing about his language, followed by an interrogation over what he was up to, but I overruled my natural instincts.  I clamped my mouth tightly shut, and sure enough, nearly five minutes later, he came into my room, and plopped down on our bed…  ‘Hey, how are you feeling today?  Feeling better?’  I just calmly gazed at him, ‘An eighteen pack, Brian?’  He grinned back at me, ‘I figured you heard that, just give me a chance before you start yelling at me, let me explain…I gave Brad some money to buy me an eighteen pack of Coke to keep in my bedroom.  That way I won’t have to waste any time going to the garage to get a drink before school in the morning.’  I let him go on, acting like I bought it, hook, line and sinker.  A little later that evening, I shared this conversation with John, but by then Brian was gone, off to spend the night with his friend.  The next day, I heard Brian come in, with considerably less energy and enthusiasm than the previous afternoon.  This time, I called him into my room…he flopped onto the bed, green around the gills.  I spoke quietly, ‘Brian, I just want you to know that there is no eighteen pack of Coke available for purchase.’  He rolled over, eyes closed, ‘Man, I thought you believed me.  Jordan told me that you didn’t buy that story, it was so lame.’  I let him know how disappointed I was with his decisions the night before, and that his dad and I would be handling this with him later.  It was suddenly very obvious…Brian was 17+ years old now…too old for my ‘little kid’ method of discipline...it was past time for me to shut up and for John to deal with him, man to man.  I also saw something else…  I had to let my kids make some choices for themselves at this stage of their lives, inevitably making mistakes, learning along the way.  They had to want ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ was.  I could keep imposing my will on them, but that wouldn’t work for long…no amount of pleading, threatening, guilt-tripping, etc. would make anything last unless ‘it’ was something they wanted as well.  

As a result of these two seemingly small milestones, I spent less hours working and more time at home, reflecting, re-examining my life…and one day, I felt different.  I started telling anyone who would listen to me how I felt like there was a big change coming in my life.  I couldn’t specifically say what kind of change, who it would involve, or even when it would occur, just an unshakable sense that there was something huge on the horizon…  

Without a doubt, I am grateful for those two weeks of bed rest…  It opened my eyes to really see again…and therefore allowed me to enjoy a period of time, just in time, with my son that I may have otherwise never known…  

Original blog posts have been re-posted under the month of March, identified as Archive-Part 1, etc.    

Informal support group…meeting at Panera Bread, Matthews, NC on Saturday, April 25, 2009 @ 10:00 am.  Please send a message if you plan to attend…  Wishing you hope… TG

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator

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