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Lately, I've been letting those corners point ever-downward. Most of the time.
The year started off with a fairly disappointing and lengthy sojourn with gastro. After a nice hiatus in Blue Mountain, 2011's sinusitis returned (coinciding with husband's trip to Africa) and developed into one helluva headache! Grumpy? Yessireebob!
At the beginning of last week things looked positive. School was back in full swing, I had a lovely big order from my favourite retailer out this way and had finally figured out the hitches and fiddly things which were keeping me from re-opening my Etsy store.
And then life just got in the way. My health went pear-shaped, my daughter turned into a defiant minx and the rest of the week was a challenge, to put it mildly. I felt incredibly frustrated to be unable to work, and cook and do all the clever and creative things I'd promised myself for the week. I was going to get organised and ready for a busy 2012.
I fought the 'interruptions'. I didn't just sit still and let things slide, for a while. I didn't cancel playdates. I pushed myself to go to Ikea with a headache, dragged a squeaky cart around the store (why do I always get the squeaky cart, but not realise until it's full of stuff?!) and lug boxes and bags and stuff from the garage out back to the front door and then upstairs to our apartment. I went to the supermarket that day as well. And it was snowing.
This is what I do. I tell myself I am a strong and independent woman and just get on with things. But all of those things could have waited, and I could have allowed myself a rest which might have prevented the headache from turning into a pounding, stabbing, blurred-vision pain in the butt.
Did I stop there? Nope, I built the damn bookcases and unpacked all the shopping and tidied and made things nice. I am such a control freak, I can't leave one thing out of place for very long. No doubt this helped that headache really take hold. Oh, and then I stayed up late and watched too many episodes of Downton Abbey, which isn't hard to do. But when your other half is away your routine goes out the window.
The next day I was compelled to stop and rest. After dropping Poppet at school, I staggered home and went back to bed. Most of that day was spent sleeping. The afternoon saw round 2 (or 3 or 4) of Grumpy Poppet vs. Grumpy Mummy. Neither of us won.
By the time Husband returned from his trip (ridiculously long hours spent on planes for only a few days on site) he joined team Grumpy and the weekend was a bit of a blur of downward pointing mouth corners all round.
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Last night Poppet coughed until she vomited. I joined her in her bed until midnight, when she finally settled and went to sleep. I found my way back to my own bed and passed out, only to have her wake at 6am. As usual.
Of course, she was fine and dandy by morning. The cough/vomit monster is a creature of the dark and leaves her days to fun and fancy. She should have gone to school. I should have got myself into gear. But I didn't.
If I pushed her and fought her all morning to get her to school, she would have ended up more tired and grumpy, and the cough would get worse. Big spiral. It makes me feel like a 'weak' mother to let her stay home. I'm hard on myself when I do it.
I realised that it's time to start 'listening' again. Paying attention and just being. I used to be really good at that, particularly after Dad died. Living in the moment is something I preach, but I seem to have lost track of it somewhere between Australia and Canada.
Today, we stayed in our pyjamas. We did some paper craft, read some books, did some knitting and watched a movie. A dear friend brought us some bread and milk. We just were. The time I gave to Poppet was returned to me tenfold. When I stop and really pay attention to her, she feels sated and goes off to play alone rather nicely later on, giving me space and time to get things done properly. It's always been this way, but I always seem to forget. Look, I've even managed a proper blog post!
And it turns out that the corners of our mouths crept up again. We didn't fight, we didn't grumble. It was nice.
We're ready to face the world again tomorrow.
To quote one of Dad's favourite songs:
"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run"
So true Kenny, and it doesn't just apply to cowboys...
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