I’ve been knocked out sideways for the past 8 days. And I mean it. I came down, suddenly, with labyrinthitis a week ago, and have barely stood up since. I’ve been in and out of hospital because I couldn’t keep even water down, and have been bedridden in between. I’ve never experienced anything like this, and I’ve never taken so long to recover from something. And I don’t feel like I’m getting any better, so it’s hard to stay positive.
A week ago, I was dashing every which way, driving hours a day, scrambling to get all I needed done each day, responding to every message I could, shouting at my children to hurry. All I wanted was time. Time to do nothing. Not a spa day, not a beach holiday. But time to stop talking, stop rushing, stop scrolling, stop shouting, stop pretending. Then, last Thursday, a wave of intense dizziness struck, and I’ve had nothing but time since. I can’t watch TV, screens give me a headache, audio books are too noisy, and walking around is nearly impossible. So I lay and I try to sit and I lay and I stare at the wall, then the other wall, and then sometimes the ceiling. I make myself lay on the grass each day and feel the outside. I’ve had to outsource my parenting to friends. I miss my boys. I miss taking care of them. I feel like a pointless mother, and wonder when I feel like myself again.
I never knew how simple life could be. The whole world around me is working just fine, and I am doing literally nothing. My kids are fine, my yoga classes are being covered, and I lay and stare. I don’t know what’s going on in the news, I don’t know what’s happening on Facebook, but I can only assume the digital world is still turning happily. I ate an apple today. Like, really ate it. I sat and did nothing but eat the apple, hear its crunch, feel its juice, taste its tang. I sat on the grass today. Like, really sat on it. My fingers brushed along the stems, some short, some longer, and watched an ant burrow over and under and through the stems. I looked up and watched the clouds, some grey, some white, slide over the sun and continue on behind the trees. I closed my eyes and listened.
My boys came home in the evening, happy, exhausted. I tried to hide my tears, my desperation, my pain at not being enough for them right now. I used all my energy to brush their teeth, and then I let them wrestle each other on my bed as I lay there. When I sent them to bed, my youngest pleaded with me to sleep with him. Out of habit, I sighed with mild annoyance. He pleaded. I acquiesced.
I can barely do anything these days, but at least I could lay with my son as he fell asleep. I normally fight not to sleep with them because of all the things it keeps me from doing, all the emails I have to answer, the dishes I have to do, the TVs shows I want to watch. He begs, and I usually begrudge. We cuddle, I love, but I disappear as soon as I can slip out undetected. But tonight, all I can offer is my warm, my arm, my head next to his. I have no where to go, nothing to do, nothing more I can give except my time and presence to this little body. And I know that is all he needed from me today. That is enough. Maybe time is enough.