Thursday, October 02, 2008

An Epiphany

Last week, I wrote here about play and having fun, and this past weekend, I got to see for myself why these things are so important, especially in a life partly defined by illness.

My mother and her husband, Ed, came from Connecticut to spend the weekend with us, and we had a full schedule, with two soccer games on Saturday and a big homemade pasta meal my mother had planned for the kids to help with Saturday evening. On Sunday, my husband and Ed took the boys to a NY Jets game in New Jersey, while my mother and I took the train to NYC to see a Broadway show.

As often happens when we have guests, I overdid while preparing for their visit and didn’t feel well on Friday and Saturday. To make matters worse, I was very worried that Sunday would be too much for the boys and me. I wondered whether spending the day at the football game would cause one or both of the boys to crash, after playing soccer on Saturday. As for me, I’ve had a rough few months lately fighting Lyme disease, and I really doubted my ability to make it through a day-long trip to NY when I hadn’t gone without an afternoon nap in years. So, I really didn’t enjoy any eager anticipation of this treat that my mother had been planning for so long.

All my worrying was for nothing. The boys had a blast and were both able to go to school on Monday. I rested as best I could on the train and ended up thoroughly enjoying lunch, the show, and dinner with my mom. We saw Wicked, which I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and it didn’t disappoint. There is just nothing like seeing a live show – the music, the dancing, the costumes and sets. It’s exhilarating and transporting.

Throughout the day, I was still constantly aware of my limits and restrictions, always noticing my symptoms and modifying my actions to account for my illness. But at some point, I started to relax a bit and actually enjoy myself. I love visiting NYC, and I enjoyed the break from my daily routine.

By the end of the day, I became aware of how stressed and tightly wound I’ve been lately, of how rarely I do have fun or play. I also realized how difficult I’ve been to live with, carrying around so much constant worry (and lately extra pain, too) that I’ve been like a dark cloud over our house. My husband and kids have been understanding (as we all are, with three of us in one house with CFS), but it suddenly hit me that our family has not had much fun lately.

Now that I’m back to my normal life (and I survived my big day without crashing afterward!), I’m trying to remember what a difference my attitude makes. It’s going to take some work to break bad habits, but I want to try to worry less and relax and enjoy myself – and my family – more. It’s not always easy, but I know this will not only make me happier but help me to feel better physically as well.

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