Friday, February 22, 2008

The medicine game

It's been a week since I've posted. A week of healing, a week of rest and above all, a week of change.

Alexis, my eldest daughter, left Wednesday evening for a 3 and a half month journey through Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Big change. Big distance. Big event.

It is her first trip far-away. Her first time away from her sister for any period of time. Her first journey around the world.

At the airport, we gathered around her to say good-bye. She's traveling with her best friend from pre-school (they were 2 and a half when they met) and her friend's brother. Throughout the years, we have spent time together as families. Her girlfriend has been my 'other daughter', accompanying us on our annual sojurn to Tofino every spring. They've shared sleep overs, tears and fears over the years. Like sisters, they sometimes fight, they always make up.

It is an experience to watch my eldest daughter spread her wings and fly away. It is hard to believe she's gone. Yet, I know, where ever she is in the world, she is doing what she must to be the most incredible young woman she is. Her warm and loving heart, her vibrant smile and her sweet angelic voice will light up the world where ever she is.

There were a lot of lessons to embrace this week. A lot to learn. A lot to understand.

I have never been particularly patient, nor kind, to my body when it is in distress. I've always adopted the attitude, "I'll get over it if I just keep pushing through it," when it comes to healing. The strategy has served me well in the past -- though it has always taken a toll on me.

This time is no different. Because there was so much to do, I got busy. Alexis needed help organizing her packing. She had last minute chores to do. Things to buy. I went with her.

Tuesday night we held a farewell get-together for her. Thirty people turned up at the house for dinner. My concession was to not 'cook from scratch' the meal. I bought frozen Lasagne and Caesar Salad and had friends bring other ingredients for the meal. I let my friends help prepare and serve and clean up and mostly sat back and let it happen.

On Wednesday, Alexis had to finish up her chores and I helped out.

Thursday, I was beat. Spent the day in bed. Had absolutely no energy to move.

Friday, I awaken to the lesson. Just because I think I can, doesn't mean I should. I need to give myself medicine in order to be able to take care of others.

I'm still tired. Still feeling the after-effects of the aneasthetic. But I'm recovering. I was telling a friend the other day how I don't understand why I'm so tired when this wasn't even 'major' surgery.

"What's not major about it?" she asked. "You had a general aneasthetic. They poisoned your body to put you to sleep. It's the closest you get to death while you're alive. You don't think that's major?"

"It's not that," I replied. "It's just, when I had a C-section with Alexis, I was jogging within three weeks. I climbed a mountain when she was six weeks old. I feel so tired this tim and my body hurts."

She laughed and patted my hand. "You forget. We're getting older."


Getting older. The body doesn't bounce back as quickly. Skin doesn't lose sleep lines. Character lines are permanently etched upon my face. The edges of my body relax, hold less definition.

She's right. But, if I'm getting older, how come I'm not wiser? How come I still think I can do it all and sleep it off to do it another day?

A rhetorical question. My habit is to not listen to my body. Instead, I tell myself, 'get over it', and get to it.

I'm learning.

Yesterday, I stayed in bed. Today, I'm relaxing. Taking it easy. This afternoon I'm going to go help out at Choices for a couple of hours. My concession this week was to acknowledge I could not coach for the entire five day session. The days are long and I knew my 100% would not sustain the energy required to be present in the training room without restraint.

I'm learning.

And I'm growing and accepting that in my growth, I get to take care of me so that I can take care of others.

The question is: Where do you let go of taking care of yourself and give away your energy without first giving yourself medicine?

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