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Happy Anniversary, Hello Charlottesville!

Posted Apr 20 2012 10:10am

I feel very lucky this morning because I did not wake up in my own bed.

I am not getting dressed to go to work.

My alarm didn’t buzz at the normal hour, and Ryan and I were not whizzing past one another on our way out the door, saying “see you in 14 hours.”

Instead, I got to rise in a cozy little Bed and Breakfast, actually pause before I jumped out of bed to start my day, and knew that we have a seriously fun two days ahead of us to relax, rejuvenate and celebrate three years of marriage.

Our anniversary isn’t until May 2nd, but since Ryan switches back to night shift next week, and it is often hard to correlate our schedules, there was no better time than the present to have a mini-getaway…especially since we had a few appointments to take care of that were on the way.

Because we both love history, the outdoors, the college-town feel, and I have to admit I secretly fell in love with this location from reading Kath’s blog, Charlottesville, VA seemed like a great place to be.

Of course the second the idea popped into my head I started doing some research and found out the Monticello Wine Trail Festival was also occurring the Saturday we selected, so things just seemed to fall into place.

But aside from purchasing our tickets to that event, and planning to take a nice long hike this morning, we did not make any reservations for meals, have NO idea what they are serving at the Food and Wine Festival in our catered lunch AND our B&B includes homemade breakfast.

Awesome! Built-in the price a.m. spread, a fabulous tasting feast from local Virginia vendors at Thomas Jefferson’s estate, and who cares if you don’t know where you are consuming dinner?! The weekend sounds amazing and totally care-free.

Or not…

On some levels, the anxiety I have about this weekend is SO low compared to what I have experienced in the past.

I have already made several mental notes, and verbal cues basically begging Ryan to take me for Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt (P.S. FROG actually stands for “Fully Rely On God,” isn’t that cool!?) but a weekend full of unknowns is still somewhat stressful.

Fortunately, I have done a really good job at reminding myself of several key things that will help keep me on track the next few days, and I will continue repeating them as my mind gravitates toward negative self-talk.

I am extremely lucky to be able to enjoy a short vacation, in a beautiful locale, at a quaint restored home, and participate in some seriously cool activities not everyone gets to experiences like touring Monticello, taking in the fresh air of the Shenandoah Mountains, and ignoring the cleaning I “should” be doing at home. These are reasons enough for me to be appreciative and tell ED to go the hell away; stop ruining my fun!

BUT, the foremost motive I need to remember anytime I want to restrict or let the pesky mean voice penetrate into my joy, is that I am standing beside the one I love.

Not to mention we are commemorating three years together that although they have not been flawless, have allowed us to grow together and become very strong as a unit.

There is something about waking up in a canopy bed, next to someone special that can turn any frown into a smile. And realizing the extent of all the things he had to give up in order to help me through my struggles provides the extra push sometimes required to say “heck yes we should have fro-yo every night!”

When I started writing this post, reflecting back on the fact that I cannot believe how fast these past years have flown, several occasions came to my mind that confirmed how blessed I truly am.

And for some reason, as we were driving yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about how many holidays or celebrations we have spent apart; one shortly after a road trip that started on this very same geographic route.

On mother’s day two years ago, we had brunch with Ryan’s family, only to reveal that immediately following the meal we would be driving to Tennessee because I was being sent to Focus Healthcare, a residential treatment facility in Chattanooga.

No one was really surprised, since they had been urging me to do go for weeks, but we said a tearful goodbye and all I could think about was how long my stay would be.

Inevitably I would be missing my every birthday within my family (they all fall in May, June and July, ironically) including my own, and how disappointed I was that I again, put a damper on our lives.

The reason we chose Focus was because of its location; too far for Ryan to come whisk me away when I pleaded with him that I was ready to go…even if it was against the consent of the doctors. (If you didn’t know I signed out of my first hospital AMA)

This also meant, only one visit…family weekend at the end of June.

After being there nearly a month, Focus started to feel like home and the girls I lived with absolutely felt more like sisters than fellow patients. Most of the staff knew my deepest secrets better than my closets friends.

But I couldn’t help but get a little sad as my twenty-third birthday approached and I was confined to the four walls on the center.

My weight hadn’t really gone up, medically there was basically no progress, and even though everyone else got to go out to two meals a week, a grocery trip to cook dinner Mondays, participate in a fun activity and a few other outings, CJ was basically on lockdown.

Barely any movement, essentially punished for standing, and certainly no spending extra energy bowling with the rest of the group.

My birthday weekend was looking like a EDA meeting, a Glee Marathon and many bowls of Kashi Crunch, but I managed to wake up that Sunday, put on my nicest LuLu Lemon Groove Pants and a shirt Ryan bought me in Florence a few weeks before, mascara and actually made my hair look half decent, and went out to breakfast with my game face.

Everyone was so quiet.

I mean, I normally was the one chatting away at everyone since breakfast was my favorite meal, and I am a little too perky for some in the a.m. but the silence was kind of odd.

I couldn’t tell you what transpired in the hour after morning meal/group, but I remember my therapist calling me to the office of the building telling me I had a package to pick up.

Odd on a Sunday, but perhaps someone wanted me to only have it on my actual birthday?

IT WAS THE BEST FREAKIN’ PACKAGE EVER.

Ryan drove the near twenty hours to Focus in order to spend a few measly hours with me!

There were no off-site visitations permitted; heck there wasn’t even a real private place to be alone together, but we were granted a therapy sessions and some time in a vacant group room to catch up and steal a kiss every once in a while.

After way too short a duration, he had to drive straight back to PA for work, and although I felt horrible that he traveled such a long way, he made my birthday the best it could possibly be.

This is just one of many examples that demonstrate the kindness and compassion he showed/shows me both when we were just friends, and now that we are life partners.

He has been my rock and my sanity and the LEAST I can do is give up ED…indefinitely is the goal, but for this weekend, is a must!

Good-bye negative self-talk and my abusive relationship, hello fun, and forever with my husband.


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