Take your pick on what qualifies me as chronically ill. Chronic fatigue. Chronic headache. Chronic depression. Or whatever diagnoses we haven't made yet. Basically I feel horrible all the time. On a good day I just feel yucky and drained and my head hurts. On a bad day I can't get out of bed.
And, while there are so many ways this has changed my life, there is one area that bothers me the most.
It's difficult to not enjoy things I used to, to not want to do anything or be with anyone. It's more difficult to want to do things but not be able to. But the most difficult isn't the things that I am missing out on. It's what my kids are missing out on.
For the first ten years of my marriage I was a doer. I played with my kids. I took them places. I cleaned house. I made meals. I read to them. I volunteered at their schools. I did crafts with them.
But that was a long time ago. At about the ten year mark, my health started going down hill. And I started to do less and less. And because it was so long ago, they don't remember all those things. They don't remember me pushing them in the swings at the park or having picnics on a quilt in the living room. They remember me asking them to be quiet because my head hurts so much. They remember me telling them to ask their older sister for help on their homework because my mind isn't clear enough. They remember me sending them to do things instead of doing things with them.
I expected to teach them about hard work by working with them and by modeling the behavior. But they see me do one small job and then crawl back into bed because I am so dizzy. I expected to teach them about service by volunteering in various ways and doing family service projects. Instead, I try to encourage them to work with their youth groups when there is a service opportunity. I thought I would teach them spirituality by doing all the things our church suggests we do to teach in our homes. I often don't feel well enough and so those things fall through the cracks and I have to be content with just getting them to church.
I planned to have a beautiful home where my children could find a place a refuge. A place that was warm and welcoming to all who passed through our doors. A place where our family could feel peace. But I can't clean like I need to. And I am often tense and isolate myself in my room, leaving them to their own devices which leads to mess and fights.
There are so many things I thought I would be as a mother. So many desires I am unable to fulfill. For years I waited, hoping that it was just a matter of time. But it might not be.
This might be as good as I ever feel again. And I am mourning that today.
Yes, there are great things in my life. Yes, I have found other ways to teach and show love to my children. Yes, I have found value in the life I have.
But it's important to allow ourselves to mourn our disappointments. It is a loss. And it makes me sad.
Oh, and this is my 100th post. It's been just over a year since I started blogging. It's amazing how quickly time passes.