This morning the Bean started wailing at about 4:45am. This continued, on and off, for over an hour until I am dragged from bed by the Boo’s requests for breakfast (I’m not cruel, I just have a rule of not getting up before 6am and this was no emergency). I am tired, my throat is sore and dry, and I realize that my valiant attempt at avoidance all week has culminated into this fact: I am sick and so are the kids. Not terribly, mind you. The Bean is happily covered in snot, the Boo is coughing a little and saying he is tired, and I am fatigued with a sore throat. Altogether we are one full blown cold, but we’ve been pushing through our week of work and daycare with relative ease.
Today, however, I succumb to it. Knowing that I have a weekend ahead with just me and the kids, I take the day while they are at daycare and I’m working from home to get as much recovery in as possible. As I lie in bed with my laptop I am thinking of the dance we’ve been doing all week. She waking up way early, he protesting that he is tired and even asking to go to bed, me thinking I’m getting sick but no I’m fine but maybe not but really I’m fine… We got back on Sunday from a weeklong vacation back east. We travelled forward and back in time. We’re exhausted so of course we’re going to get sick. But I don’t want to be sick so I was doing what I so often do. I was trying to push through it instead of give in to it.
It seems to be my pattern and one that hasn’t served me very well. For four years I watched my marriage unravel in front of my eyes. I couldn’t deal with this reality and I didn’t want to. So I just kept pushing through. It will be fine, I told myself. On the other side of whatever this is, we’ll be better, I said. If we just get through until this one thing changes, everything will be alright, I repeated to myself. I kept pushing through because I didn’t want to give in to my marriage “getting sick.” I thought if I just kept going maybe it would just not be “sick” anymore.
I did the same thing when my Dad died. Granted, I was embroiled in my marital and financial problems and became pregnant with the Bean, so with so much going on pushing through was a must. Well, who am I kidding? I put all of it on a shelf and said “OK, I will deal with you later when I have time.” That works just as well as trying to push through.
Eventually, this week the cold came on. Eventually, I had to face my failed marriage. Eventually, the grief over my Dad marched itself down from the shelf and into my face. All the pushing through in the world wasn’t going to stop any of that.
Unfortunately for me the failure of the marriage and the grief over my Dad crept up at approximately the same time. However, in a way, it was a good thing. The juxtaposition of the two definitely made many things clear in my head about what to do regarding the marriage. Losing my Dad was something that had already passed, I could not change that outcome, I could only learn from the experience, feel the emotions it entailed, and begin to heal.
The marriage, however, required action. Facing its failure was something I had to DO, head on. I had tried everything I could to get us back to good. I really did. But I had to face a fact. At the same time as watching my Dad slip away from Alzheimer’s disease for years, I spent four years watching my husband slip away into someone I did not recognize anymore. Someone I could not live with, barely co-parent, enable, and cover for any longer. I tried to get him back, I truly did. But I was unable to. I had to face it: I had lost the two men I loved most in this world at around the same time.
So now lying in bed with me are my cold, my grief, and my shattered heart. We’re a tired little bunch. But I insist that there is a lesson in everything. Today’s lesson for me is to not try to push through everything. Life has an ebb and flow and sometimes I’m just supposed to get sick. Sometimes I’m just supposed to face what is happening head on. Sometimes pushing through isn’t the best thing for me. It can be sometimes, but I have to be judicious. Else I wind up making my sickie blaster chicken noodle soup to try to heal my body, heart, and soul. There’s not quite enough soup for that today, but tomorrow I will feel better for not having to push through anymore.
I really did make sickie blaster chicken noodle soup. So good.