Sometimes I get ahead of myself, or maybe I mean behind myself. I have a tendency to worry about the life I was supposed to have (at least in my mind) and forget to live the one I do have. It is pretty easy to ignore this as I go through the motions of the day. There is work to get done. After work my daughter has to be fed, bathed and put to bed. But there is nothing quite like immobility to really put things in perspective.
I have spent nearly two weeks in a recliner at my parents’ house. Talk about the way something wasn’t supposed to play out. The script in my head read differently on this one. I had long overdue foot surgery. I have a genetic deformity that for years has given me trouble on and off. Well whether from age or weight gain, it began to hurt all the time and limited my footwear choices to approximately two pairs of shoes. So it was time and I carefully planned my surgery so that it would happen right before spring break. That way I would have the week off and could return to work with everyone else on the following Monday.
During my consultation I heard the doctor say “five weeks non-weight bearing.” I even told my mother this. Still in my head I was heading back to work, and heading home after that first week down. Well the jokes on me. I have left this recliner only to go to the bathroom and just recently started sitting at the table to eat dinner with the family. This still requires an extra chair to elevate my foot.
Now it looks like I might be returning to work next week, on crutches or with a walker. My stay at my parents will probably closer to five weeks than five days. Thankfully, I am blessed with parents who will do anything for their children, including refilling a glass of ice tea multiple times a day.
Even as I significantly underestimated all of these things, the thing that I didn’t think would be a big deal has been the biggest deal of all – the effect my immobility has had on my three year old daughter. It isn’t that my daughter was an afterthought in all of this; this, however, wasn’t that far off our regular routine. She often spends two nights a week with my parents so that I can go to grad school. She loves spending time there. I often think she prefers it to our home.
She hasn’t complained about being at Grandma and Grandpa’s but she has at times forgotten that she is potty trained. Proudly announcing that she has peeped in her panties. This would be bad enough if it didn’t mean that my mother, who is already playing nursemaid, wasn’t the one having to clean her up. She also has become argumentative about getting dressed and going to bed. She often starts sobbing because one of us has committed some unforgivable sin that we are not aware of and she isn’t willing to explain. She has told me on one occasion that she is mad at my foot. I have been at a bit of a loss with all of this. This isn’t normal behavior for my beautiful girl. My parents have been beyond patient and understanding. I keep telling myself that I will be walking again soon and this too shall pass.
But there is a moment, nearly every night, usually between 2 and 4 am when my sleepy little girl, who is used to sleeping with me, walks out of her room and into the living room. She says the same words each time, “I need you mommy.” And then she climbs up into the recliner and finishes her slumber on top of me. And for a second I can live in the moment as I think “This is what life is all about.” Followed by a sad thought, “that this too shall pass.” She will get too big to sleep in a recliner with me and more heartbreaking, she will probably stop wanting to. But for this moment she is my sweet girl and it doesn’t matter that I can’t walk or get her a cup of juice. She needs her Mommy.