It was my second day home and as I had the previous evening, I showered early. My head was dizzy, my body weak, my mind unable to follow logical process and I understood this feeling well. I stood under that warm shower thankful for this moment to start to wind down. My head rested against the shower wall as the warm drops massaged my neck, my shoulders, my whole body. I felt myself start to dissolve. I stepped out feeling the softness of the shower mat between my toes, which always makes me smile. I reached for my towel and slowly dried myself off. Then I looked up and my reflection was staring back at me. I remember feeling startled and I took a step backwards, I did a second take. There was a face so pale it was almost lifeless. It was my face. Grey and corpse-like. The rings under my eyes were the darkest I can ever recall. My eyes looked empty. Lifeless.
It was a reminder, I am not infallible. I must not push myself right now. I must honour and respect my body. Being mindful of my limitations does not stop me from pushing them. It is in my nature to constantly challenge myself, to go further. This was a lesson coming home to me, and it did.
So I put my pajamas on and I lay in my bed, flipping through magazines as FB snuggled up to me watching Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom on YouTube. I stroked her hair and cherished that moment alone with my little girl. A moment I realised, I had almost lost.
My House Maid and I had a good chat when I saw her yesterday, and she said she was always amazed that I never seemed to rest. I never stopped. I never just sat and watched TV. I was always ‘busy busy busy doing anything, just not resting’. I said ‘yes, I have so much I want to do, there are not enough hours in the day so I will work, and keep achieving until I physically cannot and that is when I stop. Late at night. Then I go to bed’.
Now I am home from hospital it is really important I don’t fall back into naughty habits and just rest and get my strength and health back. Easier said than done when you have two small children, an energizer bunny of a puppy to entertain and my own extreme goals for attainment. Honestly though, I have so little energy that my own body prevents me from overdoing things (which is driving me c.r.a.z.y…) So in my first few days back home, to make sure I only use what energy I have in a productive way, we have gone old school with activities.
We have been painting (using our super easy Dot-Art paints so it’s less mess) and making colourful bunting to hang around our little home. Who doesn’t love a bit of bunting to brighten anyone’s day.
Orange & Mango Popsicles
We have made popsicles. One of SB’s work colleagues was very generous and gave me a bag of fresh oranges and mangoes as a get-well gift. This is one thing I just cherish about the Filipino community. That generosity of spirit, that kindness is so heart warming. It is these small gestures that keep the homesickness at bay. Anyway, together the children and I juiced up the oranges, and whizzed them up with the mangoes and carefully the children took turns filling up their popsicle molds. This fruit was so fresh, the air was filled with that gorgeous sweet scent of fresh oranges. Little mouths and fingers were covered in orange juice and mango pulp as they eagerly sucked, chewed and scraped off every last piece of orange and mango out of the skins.
We have made a fort using the dining chairs and my only other flat sheet for our bed. The children brought their pillows downstairs and filled their secret haven with precious toys. Secretive giggles and whispers made us smile.
I cut up a cardboard box and made BB a really rough parking garage for his toy cars. It really looks bad but he thinks it is just the best thing ever. He said to me ‘that is fantastic mum!’ Which made it all the more worthwhile.
I’m not going to pretend that this ‘resting’ period is easy for me. It isn’t. I am not the keep still, look beyond my own mess and chaos type of person. I got home from hospital and instinctively wanted to tend to my family. I wanted to clean my kitchen, tidy the house, change over all the sheets and towels, get the washing done, bath the dog, train the dog as I have homework for our puppy school classes, plus study, research, plan a day trip for a friend coming to visit, and write. Phew *take big breath here*. It is just not possible for me to do most of this stuff right now. In fact as I have learnt, doing a big load of dishes is about all I can do before needing to rest.
So I have to find a way to ignore the piles of toys, and general mess that small children create. I need to step back from writing, give my laptop a rest. How do I do this?
Well I’m not an expert but what I have chosen to do is view life through a different lens for a while.
I asked myself ‘what did I miss about home when I was in hospital? What are the tactile, intimate, special moments that I usually cherish, and how can I make these the key focus for my life right now’. I can tell you this with absolute certainty. That when I lay on the couch snuggling my face into my little FB’s neck watching movies, smelling her skin, little fingers curled into my hand, her little body pressed into mine, there is nothing. Nothing. That can pull me away. This is where I find my peace. This is where I find my rest.
This is how I renew my spirit.