Gratitude: Day 5! Family, Rest

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Last night, I was exhausted. I had been up since 5:30 a.m. with no rest until about five or six last night. I read somewhere once when you’re exhausted around two or three in the afternoon, it’s a sign of dehydration. Supposedly, if you drink two full 8 ounce glasses of water it’s supposed to boost your energy level. An employee at GNC told me it has to do with the level B-vitamins in a person’s body dropping mid-day. Usually drinking water throughout the day works to keep me energized. Yesterday, though, it was caffeine that came to the rescue in the form of an organic cup of instant coffee.

There’s this saying amongst myself and a few other moms, that “you don’t drop ’till you stop”. In other words–you can be going all day long, tired or not, running errands, going about your daily routine of sheer insanity and productiveness. But once you sit down to breathe, that’s when it hits you all at once how exhausted you really are. Such was the case for me yesterday.

It’s been a busy week since the kids and I are back in school. It’s the eighth wonder of the world how women like myself and other moms (single parents or not) do all that we do. Just a mom? Ha, that’s hilarious! We’re nurses, referees (when there’s multiple children), chauffeurs, chefs, maids (in the sense of housework), superheroes who scare away monsters under the bed, boo-boo kissers, lunch packers, teachers, students (learning from our children) and so much more.

Now think about all of the women, those of us who are single mothers. As a matter of fact, single fathers count too. We do all of the above, plus we have to stand in place of the other parent as well. And believe me, most of us really wish they would be more involved. We have to play both roles of “good cop, bad cop” being the disciplinary parent and the one who gets to have fun. We have to reinforce our own rules because there isn’t a second parent around to say “listen to your mother” or “listen to your father.”

But hey, it is what it is right? You brush off your shoulders, stand tall and make it work. The perks of being a single parent are that you don’t have someone else undermining your authority. So yes I’m raising them on my own but–they don’t ever have to listen to me fighting with someone else, or crying, or being angry/upset because of something that my partner has said to me. Maybe that’s why I’ve chosen to stay single for so long. Because it’s safe. It’s like this defense mechanism that’s developed over time to protect my family. I’ve dated here and there since my divorce. Yet I always find myself looking for a reason why it couldn’t work long-term. Then, I end it. I’ve just shut down emotionally when it comes to romantic relationships at this point. I don’t necessarily know that it’s a good thing. What I do know is that I’m happy where I am. I’m free to come and go as I please, be friends with who I choose, raise my children with my own rules and live the life I love living, free as a sparrow to soar.

Back to my moment of gratitude! I swear it’s impossible for me to stay on track with one subject. My mind is constantly thinking in twenty different directions!

After running all of my errands, working on homework, dropping off my munchkins, picking them up, cooking dinner, doing the dishes; I barely had the strength to stand. I got dizzy a few times and thought for sure I was going to hit the floor. I’m amazed that I didn’t. Nausea was beginning to set in but, thankfully, it passed. I drank a few bottles of electrolyte water and it seemed to help.

My gratitude moment from yesterday was when my dad stopped by. He had only planned on staying for a quick visit. When he arrived, I couldn’t greet him with my usual bear hug. I didn’t have the strength to get up from where I sat in the living room. He took one look at me and asked if I needed him to stay. Without even hesitating or letting my pride get in the way, I gave him a very relieved “I would appreciate it so so much if you did.”

He ended up sleeping over, watching my daughter until she fell asleep. Then again, first thing in the morning when she woke up. I snuggled up to my son, watching movies for the rest of the night. He was such a little sweetheart, putting on Full House just so I could see John Stamos, haha. He’s such a good bean. He shared his Trash Pack collection with me, letting me pick out my favorites. They’re these half an inch tall, rubber, trash-inspired, action figures. Some of them are actually pretty cute! Crushed soda cans with faces, rotten cheeseburgers with googely eyes, funny stuff.

I don’t know how I’d get through this journey of cancer without my family. My father has been there for me like I never could have imagined. He’s taken my son to his martial arts class on several occasions & brought him to at least half of his baseball games/practices last season. They go fishing together, flea market hopping, play board games, practice playing baseball together. I am so incredibly thankful for the grandfather that my son has found in my father, both of my children. I’m thankful for getting rest when he looks after one or both of my children. Thankful that my children will have all these beautiful memories of my father when they’re older. Cancer may have thrown me a curve ball, but I have the best support team in the league helping me kick its ass!

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