It is both comforting and humbling to see that when I’m absent, things seemingly operate fairly well. Not to say I doubted everyone’s ability to cope and pitch in, but, admittedly, I did spend weeks mentally and physically prepping the family and house for my impending eight-day hospitalization. As the mom of five and wife of one, I consider my rank quite invaluable to the family’s well-being.
In fact, so consumed with everyone’s smooth transition, I hadn’t time to ponder the aftermath of what ten hours of major surgery would bring. And it’s a good thing I was so distracted because had I known what I do now, I would’ve opted to jump off a bridge in lieu of bearing this post-operative pain.
Nonetheless, from all of life’s “challenges,” we can extract hidden blessings and opportunities. And indeed, as a family, we’ve all learned a thing or two from this latest one.
1. They're more cognizant of their (flailing) limbs, and learn the necessary self-control to slow down and be with mom.
2. Kids are more sensitive to the suffering of others, (slightly) less ego-centric, and no longer see mom as a workhorse, but as a human being.
3. They triumph over their initial shock and fear induced by my post-surgical, distorted appearance, and show compassion and love. (I didn’t even resemble myself.)
4. Kids learn resiliency and adaptability as they ride the routine changes mom’s absence and subsequent fragility implies.
5. Kids witness firsthand the importance of helping others as friends, family and neighbors collaborate to keep our family engine running smoothly.
6. Teamwork: Kids learn to (temporarily) put their differences aside and work together for the benefit of mom’s healing, sanity and family-at-large.
7. They’re not the only ones who drool. (I jest; my mouth is still numb from surgery and all feeling is “expected” to return “shortly.”)
1. I experience the benefit of inviting passivity into my life and slow the pace to move deliberately.
2. For the first time, I extend patience and acceptance (also) to myself, and do not demand too much.
3. No longer do I equate perpetual “busy-ness” with the importance or success of my day.
4. I know what it feels like to be ignored, invisible, and neglected. And, what it feels like to “fall in love” with whomever takes a moment to pay enough attention to feed and care for me (from horrible hospital days.)
5. Greater appreciation for how much caring people matter and impact our lives.
6. That no matter what, when looks get distorted and the body goes, the mind is all that remains. And ultimately, our thoughts and words are of most interest to others and are our legacy once we’ve passed on.
7. Small, realistic, and achievable goals are enough; the key is to always move forward and celebrate the smallest of victories.
8. I adore and appreciate my husband and mother more than ever before.
9. I no longer need caffeine to survive.
10. I drool, therefore I exist.