Crying, Remembering, Growing … Mom Style


I didn’t think this through.

I didn’t think this through.

I didn’t think this through.

How am I supposed to MOM when I can barely WALK?

Right now I’m sitting here, crying my eyes out, wallowing in a vat of self-pity exactly 5’8″ deep. Actually, I’m slightly surprised I can even see the keyboard for the tears. I’m ready to give up; I’m ready to admit defeat. I’m ready to wave my white flag, give into the pain, and never move again.

But, I can’t.

I can’t.

Tonight a tiny, pretty, green-eyed boy with boundless energy and a luminescent spirit comes home. He’ll come home, walk through the door, and expect to see Mommy, Queen of the Household, Ruler of the Pantry, Bringer of the Milk, and Guardian of the Candy Bowl.

What he cannot see, what he will not see, is this sobbing mess of a woman whose leg feels like a molding Jack-O-Lantern: caving, crumbling, and giving way to both decay and gravity.

As a mother, as his mother, I have to be the epitome of love and strength. I have to be a pillar upon which he sees and understands the world around him. I have to be his rock, his discipline, his everything.

But, can I admit something?

I don’t feel like any of that right now. I’m not strong. I’m not steady. I can’t even leap over a wayward Lego and live to tell the tale right now.

… And I don’t know that I want to try.

Which is another reason that I’m a crying, blubbering, snotty mess. It’s a really hard reality to face, knowing that I don’t feel capable of the Momdom this week. I’m barely fending for myself, and suddenly I’m responsible for another tiny life, and responsible for his safety.

Just this morning I was awakened by a constant pounding upon the door. I thought someone was trying to knock the house down in a fury of panic. By the time I sat up, swung my beleaguered leg over the side, grabbed my cane, and stood up in a stilted, pained fashion–much like an 80 year-old man–the pounding had waned a bit. I almost thought about yelling, “Hang on, hang on, it’s going to take me a while to get there,” when I realized the house wasn’t burning down, no one was dying, and my neighbor wasn’t being chased by a masked serial killer.

It was a cat, trying to escape the confines of the bathroom.

I thought about going back to bed, in order to ignore the throbbing pain of my knee, but decided to push through. Coffee, Naprosyn, and ice were sure to help the feeling in my leg, … or so I thought. The pain in my leg knew otherwise. It’s been six days post-surgery. The swelling is almost nearly gone, which puts all the newly trimmed, chopped, and nipped pieces in my knee directly on top of each other.

I didn’t have that yesterday, so it’s pretty much a suckfest today.

What does it feel like? Like grinding bone on bone. Or scraping a fingernail across a chalkboard. Or that man who turns on a whirring blade and touches it to a piece of iron, and sparks fly.

If I wasn’t still leaking tears, I might look up what that’s called. But the image is there, so it’s a start.

So I’m walking around on this grating, grinding, painful knee–with the aid of my cane, Pink Rosie–and I realized that not only do I have to make it through today, but I have to make it through tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, into next week, when I start Physical Therapy, … and then I have to make it through Physical Therapy pain, and into the following month.

And then I got really, insanely, ridiculously overwhelmed, and the tears started flowing.

What’s the worst thing about tears? They bring friends, host a part, and then, as wild parties tend to do, the pity party turns into a Rave. Suddenly I became a wailing, snot-nosed mess of misery, trying to fathom living another day, realizing that I have to suck it up, today, and Mom it up. It just seemed too difficult.

It still seems too difficult, and I have only slightly calmed myself down.

Mom it up I must, though, because Tiny can’t feel my pain. As I’ve said before, children are inherently egocentric by nature. Mine, however, luckily has an introspective, loving side, which I’m counting on tonight. It may be a stretch of the imagination, but he’s lived with a mommy who has had knee issues for two years.

What’s another month, in the grand scheme of things?

What is another month of pain, considering all I’ve been through with this darn leg of mine?

I got through the initial cartilage tear.

I got through the Synvisc injection from Hell.

I got through 2,000 steps in Florence’s majestic towers.

I got past almost 100% atrophy in my leg.

I am a fighter.

Wait, … I’m a fighter. I’m a mom, and I’m pretty damn awesome.

I need to write that down somewhere, like across my bathroom mirror, and remember that every morning. I can wipe away the tears. I can make it through this. I’ve lived through worse with this stupid, silly leg, so what’s a little setback from pain and surgery if I can climb mountains in the long-term?

Okay, okay. I’m not climbing mountains. That was a bit of euphemism with a lot of rhetoric.

I need to remember in these moments how far I’ve come, and see the strength in my future. Instead of wallowing in short-term despair, I have to see the possibilities, and imagine.

Imagination is the key to anything worth undertaking. I believe I’ve said that before, but if I haven’t, it stands.

Along with writing on my mirror, I need to envision what my future will look like, with Tiny. Imagine running with him in the park, stirring up the pigeons, and torturing the poor turtles. We won’t fly like Buzz Lightyear anymore, because he’s been replaced by the repulsor beams of Iron Man, but we can blast off together, running through the grass, laughing the entire time.

When that day comes, it will be magnificent.

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