You know how I work super hard? And how I am always working on 30 things at once? Well, I stopped. I had no choice when my mom fell ill and I had no back up with Charly and Christmas came charging at us out of nowhere – seriously, did anybody else feel it flew at us and past us in an instant this year? I wrapped up client work in a daze of panic over my mom, I shut down this space because my capacity was at zero, I handed the reigns to SA Sisterhood over to Laverne and I went into autopilot for Tums 2 Tots. I lost all momentum; I slowed and I stalled.
My mom is home. She is still not herself, she is recovering her strength slowly as she adjusts to being home and moving around a little as she goes. The pneumonia has cleared and there has been no recurrence of the allergies since she’s been home; but she is still taking heavy antibiotics and is on bedrest ‘til later this week. If it weren’t for the time of year, her doctor made clear that she would not have left the hospital after a bout of pneumonia or complications like she had before next week Tuesday. My dad is home though until mid-January and he is ensuring that she gets all the rest she needs and is looking after her properly.
While high care at this private hospital was incredible, the general ward was beyond terrifying. Nurses that weren’t wearing gloves while taking patient’s’ blood, not washing their hands between seriously ill patients – and there are 6 nurses to 40 patients – how many sick people were they seeing and handling without following basic hygiene rules?? My mom clearly says after her first night there she didn’t think she would get out alive. How scary is that?? This is a hospital I love, where my baby was born (though I genuinely think that the “private” areas like maternity and high care and ICU are a very different ballgame); that doesn’t make it ok though does it? My dad is going to do the formal reporting to everybody whose email addresses he can find through obsessive internet searches, so watch out big hospital staff and management, you have some explaining to do…
Anyway, the main point is – she is home, she is recovering, and she was able to be with us for Christmas. There are absolutely no words for how incredibly grateful I am to each and every one of you that poured love, support, prayers and positivity our way; I was totally blown away. I am so incredibly blessed to have each and every one of you in my world, no matter what the capacity.
While it is very difficult to see my mommy and my family going through this as anything even remotely positive, I have to grudgingly admit that there were some big positive things to come out of it.
First and foremost, my mom was seen by some of the top specialists in Cape Town for her diabetes and they checked every single thing to do with her health during this stay. They even found damage in her lungs that might otherwise never have been seen, that can now be treated properly. The allergy to penicillin was sudden, after years of no issues, due to her being prescribed too many penicillin based antibiotics in too short a time – if she had not seen the doctor she saw who sent her to the specialist, she may well have been given yet another penicillin based antibiotic which might have killed her outright.
Not having my mom around forced me to slow down; it made me more patient with my baby girl who couldn’t understand where her granny had gone, I spent more one on one time with Charly; quiet time and loud fun time and dealing with the incredibly epic tantrums that escalated out of control after a few more days without granny passed. It forced me to be a more present mommy when I was with her; which I haven’t been for a good few months – hard to admit, but a positive outcome for sure.
She got left with a lovely babysitter we found; she got left with the incredible Bertha who my friend Katy “loaned” me for a day who Charly adores; and she got left with my aunt and our beloved cleaning lady Thembe. And you know what? She was fine. She had her moments for sure, and she wasn’t all sweetness and light, but there was no physical or emotional damage – she was safe and adored and she survived without me or my mommy. This was huge for all of us I think, as her first day of school looms just over the horizon of 2015. I know that she is going to be ok, even if we have endless tears as she pushed her boundaries with me. She is going to love the learning and the children and the new challenges. She is going to be just fine.
And then me, well, obviously the above was all good for me too. But I think the biggest thing for me was forcing me to wrap up and actually stop working completely for a little while. My instinct to hide from awful realities kicked in, which allowed me to just switch off my phone and sleep when Charly napped, and I fell asleep completely drained when Charly fell asleep at night more often than not. Not the healthiest of ways to deal with stress, but in my chronically sleep deprived state, it was something everybody was happy with for me. I have gone days without opening my laptop, whole days! I went the whole way through a few days without checking my mail – knowing that reading about things I couldn’t deal with or manage in that time would just make my anxiety worse.
Ok, so there have been some major setbacks as well.
My anxiety is at an all time high. I am convinced somebody is in the house at night, I am convinced we are going to be hijacked on the roads, I am convinced people I love might die. I even changed the venue of a breakfast date because I became quietly certain that the place I chose initially was going to be held up (it happened there a few times years ago).
I let my aunt watch Charly all afternoon and she let her play with a motorcycle on the property (which didn’t fall on her but so easily could have) and even though I explained that she could only give Charly grapes if cut lengthways or she could choke to death (ps. This is a BIG thing right up to when a kid turns 4 or 5 due to the nature of the grape it can’t be ejected from the throat if it is whole or cut widthways), and after she left I found grapes cut the wrong way on Charly’s table. I went upstairs to fetch something and one of the amazing babysitters who I love had left Charly alone on the staircase while she ran to fetch something from the kitchen – the staircase is gated at the top and the bottom for a very very distinct reason. Another gave Charly whole grapes (no more grapes in the house with babysitters). It is important to note Charly survived it all smiling.
To my credit I have managed to broach the subject with those involved incredibly gently and have not banned them from my house or locked Charly up away from everybody. It does make it that little bit harder to leave her with anybody though.
The biggest negative has been that I have totally undone the weaning with Charly. The guilt I feel over that is hard to describe. Because I know exactly what we are facing having to do it all over again. And when?? I can’t wean her now as she heads to school, because that will attach unnecessary stress to what will already be a major life change to her. I just couldn’t fight her anymore. Weeks without my mom on and off, her vaccinations and just the absolute obliteration of both of our routines left me at a point of literal “I just can’t”.
I have felt that about every aspect of my life these past weeks – my child, my poor husband, my work, waking up all night, getting up every day, making lunches, making any kind of decision. The response in my head that repeated itself over and over was “I just can’t anymore”. But I did. Every night. Every day. I just kept doing what needed doing. But the weaning. I broke that.
The problem with this “break” I am taking from all things “work” is that my momentum is gone. I got through every day by just doing what needed doing. That’s how I have been functioning the last few months, with all the new work too, nothing special, no “gift”, just constant non-stop 24-7, never taking a moment for me or anything else- work. If I was awake, I was working, and I was staying awake hours past when I should have to make sure I did all the work. I worked while I ate breakfast, while I “watched shows” with Charly or Brett, while I waited for Charly to eat her food, while I made her lunch, while I made lunch, while Brett made dinner, after dinner while Brett cleared up and Charly finished her dinner, while I breastfed Charly to sleep, during naptime, when I should have been asleep. I even woke once or twice in the night with C and made notes in the bathroom when I got her back to sleep. Healthy I know.
Anyway, it was constant motion. Since I stopped, the urge to “do” has vanished completely. The thought of doing anything at all makes me want to curl up and cry or sleep or colour in (haha I have no doubt there is some deep psychological longing for the simplicity of childhood in that).
So how do I get started again? And when should I get started again? I guess, this post is a slow turnover in the engine of the blog again. And tomorrow I will hit publish on some T2T content again for a few days. Brett says momentum is just movement, so anything I do will get it started again. Hopefully he is right and a little dusting off of things will help me slowly ease back.
I have realised though, that I don’t necessarily want to head back into the non-stop mania I was living in the past few months. Another positive perhaps with some perspective from the past weeks. I just need to find that ever-elusive balance that everybody speaks of.
Sneding all the love xx