by Shona, A Life Less Ordinary
Things in our household have been a bit stressful as of late. I know this because my fuse has been short, my hair has been unwashed, and I walk by the mirror and don’t recognize the face staring back at me. It is at times like these when this little voice in my head tells me I need to take a break. It should be that simple. I should just listen and obey. Take a break. But instead I argue with myself about how I need to be at home and how it isn’t fair to leave my husband to take care of Kendyl by himself.
I make excuses for why I can’t spend the money to go shopping and I don’t need to waste calories on that latte at Starbucks. All the while I am trying to convince myself that I cannot get away, my fuse is getting shorter, my appearance more haggard, and my attitude more negative. This goes on until eventually I have what I consider to be a nervous breakdown…complete with sobbing and binge eating of chocolate. I finally decided that this has to stop.
So as corny as this sounds, I decided to start dating myself. My first date with myself, I took myself out to a movie. Sweet and simple. I figured I wouldn’t have to small talk with myself if I turned out not to be good company. I chose to see a comedy. I bought myself some Twizzlers. I put on make-up. I wore my favorite green sweater and pink scarf. I walked past the mirror on my way out the door and for the first time in a long time, I recognized the face. It wasn’t a bad looking face either. I smiled. A genuine smile. Incredibly, I had a really nice time with myself. I am a pretty good date. I actually enjoyed spending time with me and by the time I got home from my date, I was lighter.
So the next step I decided, was to spend a whole day with me….alone. Now this was a terrifying prospect. What was I going to do all day long without someone to take care of? Someone who needed me? But what I discovered was that I did have someone to take care of and who needed me….me.
I spent the morning at my favorite Yoga studio, I had a leisurely lunch (I actually sat down at the table, as opposed to being huddled over the sink shoving food down my throat). I had that latte (tall skinny peppermint decaf…I still felt guilty about the calories). I saw another movie. I played my guitar and my trumpet. I listened to my favorite music really loud and danced around the house. Before I knew it, the day was done. I did it. A whole day alone. You know what I discovered? Me.
The me I thought died the day the world turned upside down. The me I thought was buried forever under a cycle of grief that I can never seem to get ahead of. The me I thought I had to say good-bye to because I had the mistaken belief that moms of children with special needs must never think of themselves. They must spend 100% of their time, energy, money, and love on their child or they are abandoning them to their disability.
I’m not saying that I should write a book or anything. I’m sure this concept is already in some obscure psychology book somewhere anyway. But it never dawned on me that I could see myself as someone worthy of being dated. Now don’t blame my husband for not making me feel worthy. My husband takes me out (when Kendyl is healthy and we can mesh schedules with our babysitter…which happens about once every four or five months). He tells me I’m beautiful, important, worthy of love…He still opens the car door for me after 12 years of marriage. I guess I just never believed it myself. Until the day I took myself to the movies.
Shona is the ordinary mom to one extraordinary little girl with a very rare chromosomal abnormality. She blogs about grief, loss, and rebuilding life when the one God gives you isn’t the one you expected. When she isn’t blogging, she is chef, chauffeur, therapist, nutritionist, teacher, advocate extraordinaire…and sometimes dabbles in living a life of her own as a yogi, musician, wife, friend, sister, and daughter.
This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.