We Never Stop Learning From Our Mom

Going home is always interesting right now. Always. I feel like new challenges emerge, new themes within myself and new themes within our family. Everytime. As I am managing Mom’s MS I am also managing myself. I am learning a lot about myself in the process- learning that there are some things I have to improve upon to make me a better daughter but in another way to make me a better person. It is almost as if Mom is still teaching me even though she thinks she isn’t. She is still molding me as Mom even when she doesn’t realize it.

Slowing down: It is no lie that when Sister K and I go home we are forced (not necessarily by choice) to slow down. Our family moves slow, we can’t go anywhere quickly, we run late to everything and we don’t do nearly as many activities as we once did on the weekends. There is a lot of lounging around. A lot of just being.

Slow Down.

Being Present: At home it seems we are constantly multitasking. Constantly. I feel this a lot especially internally. I am looking at what we need to get done during the day. Looking at the point we are at currently. Trying to rush to get errands run, feeling stressed and uneasy about things that need to get done…and in the process my body is present but my mind is not. When every time and I do mean every time we somehow get it all done. And if we don’t get it all done we manage to figure out an alternative. It is like I can’t just have faith that it will all work out, knowing in the past that it will all work out and just chill out. Maybe it is a control thing or the inner planner in me…I am not sure…but I do know I become so fixated on the tasks we need to achieve instead of being present for the moment happening right now. A moment I probably won’t get back.

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Enjoying Moments: I have got to find a way to calm the voices inside of my mind, calm the negative thoughts, calm the worries and just focus on and enjoy my moments at home. I am not saying everything is perfect and that ever moment is enjoyable. We deal with a lot when we are home and do a lot to help Mom in order to give Dad a break. We are not perfect. There are moments where it is too much for Sister K and I step in or vice versa…or moments we notice Dad struggling and we step in. We read each other very well and I do consider that a major blessing. But at the end of the day, these moments regardless of how mundane or boring they may seem to other people, they are our family moments right now. This is the time we have been given to spend with Mom and I need to be present for them and enjoy them. I need to put aside my phone, put my thoughts or worries aside knowing they will all get done and just be present.

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It is amazing to me but Mom is still teaching me through this, she just doesn’t realize it. She is teaching me to be still and to be present to better enjoy moments like the above- an afternoon movie with Mom, Sister K and our dogs. Mom’s MS is full of tough times, special moments and lessons learned. The journey I am taking as being a part of this is molding and shaping me in new ways everyday…I just need to take a step back when I get overwhelmed and remember that.

Do you have trouble with being still and present in life? How do you allow yourself to quiet your mind and enjoy moments? Do you think sometimes the smallest and simplest moments are also the most special? 

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A Different Kind of New Year’s

New Year’s Day is usually synonymous with optimism for the new year, resolutions, relaxing, organizing, and enjoying a well deserved day off. This was my plan heading into 2014 but I soon realized that was not how I was going to spend the first day of 2014.

Husband and I traveled home to be with my parents for New Year’s Eve because we had a wedding for a family friend to attend. We were running late as usual because it takes Mom a long time to get ready. It then takes a long time to get in the car. And as I watch Dad do this I fear every time he is going to hurt himself. We missed the ceremony but showed up in time for the reception. I watched Mom as she repeated herself several times about a group picture she wanted to take. Not repeating to make sure it got done but repeating to because she thought it was the first time she said it. I started to cringe a little bit. We then had to maneuver her around across cobblestone rocks that hurt her legs. We then had to find a good spot inside for her to sit. And the list went on and on. I sat there at the table just kind of tired and mentally out of it. Thinking these used to be fun and care free events for my family and now they just aren’t.

But we rang in the New Year at home with Mom and Dad. We had champagne and chips and queso. Husband and I opened belated Christmas gifts. It was a nice ending to the year.

New Year’s Day was frustrating though. It was frustrating because Husband and I had planned to get up and leave early. I quickly realized after waking up that wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t going to happen because Mom had invited Papa over for a big spaghetti lunch. She kept saying Dad could take care of getting everything ready but there was no way Dad could take care of everything because he was busy taking care of Mom. A whole separate issue going on right now too. I realized I had to stay. I had to stay to get lunch fixed. Mom had envisioned this lunch in her head and even though I felt it was unrealistic, it was too late and I needed to execute it. So I did. Husband and I stayed around and didn’t leave to drive back to our home until around 4 getting home around 7pm.

I felt happy I could step in for my parents and help them out. I also felt frustrated I had to step in to help them out. I also just felt defeated. I feel defeated by MS right now. I feel angry it is in our lives. I feel helpless about what to do. I feel sad for Dad and everything he is going through as Mom’s caregiver. I feel clueless about where it is going. I feel hopeless and then I feel guilty for feeling hopeless. I feel selfish for saying I miss Mom and I miss the way things used to be. I am feeling a lot right now. I don’t understand what 2014 holds. I know where we were a year ago and I know where we are today. I don’t know where we will be tomorrow. I am trying to take one day at a time but it’s hard. It’s hard when you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. You just see another day in the tunnel. And I am worried that 2014 is going to be a year of tunnel-filled days.

Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year! Thanks for sticking with me through 2013!