Everyone has been commenting on how positive I sound, and I am feeling positive and at peace overall. But for the sake of other parents out there that may still be feeling alone and in the dark, I can assure you that as unpredictable as the weather, I also have low days. Sometimes, it’s just a slight “feeling the load” day and other times when I take my eyes off my Source of strength and look down at myself for the answers and energy – wow, those days sure feel overwhelming! I’m as ordinary and fallible as any other person. Like all mothers, I have my days when I can’t contain frustrations or compose my fatigue. Sometimes, I get grumpy and irritable, and snap at the people I love as a result. I am human. It also happens to be those days when I scratch the car, burn the dinner, or lose my parking ticket and things don’t seem so “peachy”. Hormones are no woman’s friend… they tease us and accuse us and most of us ladies will admit that sometimes, we just feel horrible, for no apparent reason at all.
Apart from Swiss chocolate, I have other ways of surviving these days. People; the most precious gift of other people who love and accept you and who understand that these days do happen. A simple text message, short visit or quick call just helps with the feeling of being less alone. This is also where connecting with other parents is such an incredible blessing; hearing other people’s stories, concerns and questions is a very real source of strength. On low days, I also tend to linger a bit longer at the girls’ school. There are people there that care, and are more familiar with the deaf world than I am. Knowing that these kind faces are a part of my new world, is also very comforting. I also try to remember to actively seek out someone to encourage in their uniquely tough situation. It’s amazing how speaking (or just texting) positive words, words of life and hope, can ease the intensity of your own trouble.
A realization that has really helped me on days when my feelings and emotions don’t seem to be playing along with my desires to be positive and hopeful, is to recognize that they are real, that they are painful but actually incongruent with my reality: the reality that my life is filled with blessings, hope and love. The reality is that I’m having a bad DAY and not a bad life! I’ve stopped trying to submerge these feelings, but rather just embrace them for the moment. The hard part is to choose to not act out negatively to wards the girls when I’m feeling low, but to choose to act lovingly towards them in spite of not necessarily feeling up to it. Oh, I often mess this part up, which explains why one of the first signs that I learned, and one of Eden’s first words (signed) has been “sorry.”
I’ve been reading a wonderful book, which I’ll elaborate more on another time, which has said a fair amount about crying. I’ve always hated the feeling of losing control when trying to hold back floods of tears. As a result, the buildup usually results in a cracking up in the most in-opportune times and places. This author, an expert on grief, explains that tears are little messengers that help to express the deepest feelings when words simple cannot. He describes tears as little gifts. I have to admit, that after a good long sob, the clouds seem to lift a bit. The trick is to find a quite spot to just let it all out, write things down or just speak things out loud. For me this has been a real sense of cleansing, over the option of bottling it all up, when eventually, it will all explode into something a bit more intimidating and less welcome. So, a good cry is not a bad thing! And if for some reason, a gentle smile from a stranger in your direction gets the waters flowing, then so be it! If this happens whilst you midway in the checkout queue in Woolies, and you have nowhere to hide, you’ll survive to tell the tale, and just maybe, you’ll give someone else permission to let their little “gifts” flow too.
Today was not a super sunny, “let’s conquer all the odds” kind of day. I took the girls to an open play area that we love going to. It’s a wonderful space to relax and enjoy a cappuccino, whilst the children play, imagine and explore. But for some reason, today I noticed the other children that were the same age as the girls, and their full conversations with their friends and their moms, left me feeling sad. I did my mental list of some things about each girl that I love dearly, found some chocolate, and already I’m feeling better! If I have a moment later, I’ll find someone to encourage, and Hope will shine bright again. Feelings, you don’t own me, but you are a part of me. Tomorrow your face will change, and the sky may no longer be grey. I acknowledge, that as normal as it is for sunshine, rain, wind and heat to be part of our physical lives, so joy, sadness, happiness and sorrow are just as necessary in keeping us, simply human. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned that when I’m feeling down, I need to look UP.