It’s been a hard few weeks. I know I can’t work as a teacher any more. I’ve made that lifestyle change. (In fact, it was just two years ago that I left my teaching career). But what I haven’t done is change most of the other parts of my life.
Call it denial. Call it stubbornness. Call it stupidity. It’s probably all of those things.
A little more than two weeks ago, I accompanied my son and his class on a walking field trip from his school to the Page Museum (located on Wilshire Boulevard). Back in the days when my son relied on his stroller for his prime mode of transportation and my legs weren’t under daily attack, I used to walk my son there all the time. We’d marvel at the Tar Pits and explore the “Fossil Museum,” his nickname for the Page Museum.
I knew the field trip would be challenging for me. My husband couldn’t attend because of work. And although both my parents offered to take my place and chaperone the field trip, I wouldn’t take them up on their generous offer. This was my son. I was his mother. The field trip was my responsibility.
Thankfully the pain didn’t set in until after my son was safely back at school. Then it was as if my brain gave my body permission to feel awful. (The same thing happened on our one and only trip to Disneyland, the summer before my son started preschool. I was fine the whole day until I parked the car at home.)
But no matter how awful I felt immediately after the field trip, the day still goes on. I still had to pick up my son from school and help him with homework. And the days after that kept going. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. School and homework. Errands and chores around the house.
Then there’s the after-school time. The time when my son wants to go outside and play basketball. I’m his playmate-of-choice (and by default since I’m the only one around). And although I could put my foot down and say no, I don’t. All my child wants to do is play outside with his Mommy. How could I say no to that? So I played.
And I hurt. And then it’s a vicious cycle of more pain, less sleep. More medications, less energy. More discomfort, less confidence.
And the knowledge that my current situation sucks. (I know I’m a writer and should be able to think of a fancier word, but in certain situations, basic is better). And this sucks. It isn’t fair. It isn’t easy.
And eventually, it’ll get better. It’s hard now. But it’s been better. And I have to trust that the better times will return.