I don’t know about all of you, but this Fall is doing a number on my sanity. Pretty sure I blinked and we were already halfway through September. This is nothing new of course, with school starting, fundraising event season in full swing, epilepsy awareness month in November and then the holidays, I am sprinting a marathon to make it to January. I’m pretty sure this is similarly true for most families just replace fundraising events for soccer games and epilepsy awareness month for some other volunteer activities. It’s just a crazy time of year! Typically, I like busy, I thrive on it even, but this year I’m falling behind and struggling to find my usual motivation.
There are a multitude of very logical explanations for this of course, not least of which is the continued decline of Adelaide’s health. Then there is the undeniable uncertainty associated with Hamilton Chicago closing in January. Our family will be financially fine for the foreseeable future and we will have health insurance through the actors union for at least a year, but there is stress in uncertainty and our life seems to be full of it at the moment. Friends, family and strangers alike have been asking us what’s next? Are we staying in Chicago? Will I go back to work? I don’t blame them for asking these questions and caring about our family because I’ve been grilling myself over these question too!
This week a friend posted on his instagram, “Today I refuse to stress myself out about things I cannot control or change” and OMG did I need that reminder. Usually I’m pretty good about this. The rational side of my brain is typically in the driver seat with my emotions playing the part of the nagging backseat driver who happens to be reading the map upside down. But when life gets hectic, my rational brain gets tired and lord help us when my emotions take the wheel. I shared my friend’s post and was surprised at how many responses I got from people saying that they too needed this reminder and I realized there may be more of us than we think that are feeling a touch overwhelmed and under-motivated this season.
So, today, I just want to remind you and myself that it’s ok to live inchstone to inchstone. That you don’t have to have a plan for everything just the next step you need to take. Maybe that next step is just to eat lunch and, if that’s the case, I hope its delicious. Awhile ago a friend gave me a small gold frame and inside it is a decorative paper that reads, “the little things are the big things”. It sits on my dresser which has been covered in papers and clothes since before vacation. This week I finally set to clearing the space in hopes that it would help to clear my mind and the frame caught my eye. Isn’t funny how certain objects, books or phrases come back into your life just when you need to see them?
True to form, Adelaide has been reminding me of this as well in her own way. Last week for the first time in months? Years? She acknowledged that she wanted me. Sure she may open her eyes when she hears my voice, or on a rare occasion, look up at me while I’m holding her. But I couldn’t tell you the last time she let me know she wanted or needed me specifically. On a recent morning she was uncomfortable, crying out as she often does, and I crawled into bed with her, as I often do, and to my surprise she stopped crying. I thought it was a coincidence. Clearly, whatever meds the night nurse had given her had kicked in and she was feeling better. But then we repeated the scenario that afternoon when she was again unwell, except this time, when I got out of her bed, after a few minutes of cuddling, she started crying out again. I still wasn’t convinced. Then the other night she was upset, shrieking in apparent discomfort. I had a friend over for a mommy play-date and we were comforting her for quite some time in her room. Our older children were playing downstairs and they had gotten suspiciously quiet - the universal sign for all helI breaking loose - and I left Miss A’s room but my friend stayed. By the time I came back upstairs, after preventing a seven year old’s armageddon of our basement, I heard Adelaide once again upset. Turns out that as soon as I left her room she started crying again and as soon as I came back to her side she quieted
Having your child show you that they need you is such a little thing. To be sure, there are definitely parents out there that wish their children weren’t so showy with their parental need. But for me this little thing is a very, very big thing. It’s amazing and beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time and I’m just so happy that she’s telling me that she needs me. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to be needed by her. I mean, if she didn’t already have me wrapped around her sweet little finger then she’s certainly got me solidly chained now. It’s these moments that remind me to just be present with her. When she needs me in this way, the rest of the world slips away… that is, until Jackson yells from the living room requesting his breakfast.
Who knows how long this conscious window will last, I know better than to think this is the new normal. But for now I am here for it. Right now Adelaide needs me to be with her, next Jackson needs breakfast, after that I should probably put on a bra. What’s next? We’ll just have to wait and see…
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