I was reading one of the travel blogs I am subscribed to this morning (a way of escaping without being able to really travel right now) and it referred to an article, “Reminding Myself of What I Love”. I thought it would be a valuable reminder to put on this blog as well. It is very easy when you have a chronically ill child to forget the things you love. I know that my days have been taken over by the administering of meds four to six times a day, taking blood pressure twice a day, taking temperature twice a day, keeping track of intake and output. It can quickly become a grind. And when it is an infant that is sick, all of this just gets piled on top of breastfeeding or formula mixing, diaper changes, baths, and tummy time. Pretty soon, one might begin to feel more like a nursemaid then a person. So, I think its valuable to take a step back and, as the article says, remind yourself of what you love. Take some time to think about who you were before your child came along, before your child ended up in the hospital, before your child needed so much care at home…and figure out which of those things you can fit back in your life.
For my list, a few of the things I can pretty easily reincorporate them into my life, while some others are definitely going to be things I won’t be able to do on a regular basis for a while. I encourage you to consider your own list and commit to working those you can into your schedule, even if its hard. Remember, you have to take care of yourself in order to be a caretaker!
I really like to scrapbook when I do it. But, I have this block against starting it. It always feels like a big job to get going on a page or a project. But, when I actually follow through with doing it, it feels great. And looking back at the pages I create always makes me very happy. This is something I CAN incorporate into the schedule. It just requires me to be a little more flexible with my preparation and organization. I need to just start a page without having everything figured out beforehand. I think once I get going, I will definitely be hooked again. And I have all these pictures of M’s hospital experience that need to be scrapbooked!
Music and Dance
I have been incorporating this a bit more with my four hour commute time. I listen to the radio and my CDs. But, I don’t have the same connection to music as I used to. This is something from before I had M. I used to go dancing all the time and loved music and learning new dance steps, etc. I haven’t done this in a long, long time, but listening to the radio and CDs more often has reminded me of the happy feeling this used to give me. I’m not sure how to incorporate dance, but music I can do. I am going to make friends with Itunes and start burning CDs for my commutes.
I have always been a reader. I love reading – books, magazines, blogs, etc. This is something I haven’t really given up, but I could definitely devote more time to it. I think it will set a good example for M if I am a reader. I need to turn off the TV more often and read instead!
Yup, I like to play poker and go to casinos. This is something that I will obviously not be able to do much in the near future. Poker online is just not the same thing as in person, especially playing with friends. We used to have a weekly game, but we moved and don’t have the same opportunities now. Maybe we will be able to find someone when we move back to wherever our home will now be.
This one is hard. I really miss being in shape and playing team sports or doing individual sports. I swam, played water polo, dove, did gymnastics, played in a softball league, bowled in a league…I’ve done it all. And I greatly miss doing those things, but its hard to get motivated because I’m so out of shape, it doesn’t seem as much fun anymore. I know that is really defeatist thinking because you can’t get in shape until you start doing something to get in shape…so its a vicious circle. But, I really do miss doing sports and fun types of exercise (tubing on the river, playing ultimate frisbee, etc.). I need to MAKE myself start doing stuff to get back in shape and just get past the point where it starts to be fun again, and then I know I will be hooked. This is another thing I really want to model for M – I want to be able to do sports with her and see her mom as fun and active.
Going to Festivals/Fairs/Exhibitions/Amusement Parks
These are just fun, outdoor, and leisurely activities that I love. I don’t do them much anymore because (1) I’m a bad planner, so I often miss them, (2) I work a lot of weekends that they are open/fall on, and (3) my husband tends to think they are ridiculous. But, I LOVE them. The more local/cornier, the better. They just seem to be places where you can really enjoy yourself without being judged. I love people watching and these places are great for that. I also just like to see people having a good time and these are great for that. I really need to start following my Sunset and AAA magazines more closely and going with other family members or friends if my husband doesn’t want to go! They are just too fun to miss out on.
So, there is a short list of some of the things I love and a little look into how I plan to incorporate them into my life despite having a six month old with a somewhat chronic condition. It will be good for both of us if I can start doing things I really love more often! I encourage you to figure out what it is you love and start doing some of those things more often as well!