My daughter looks over my shoulder at the monitor. “What does ‘mal…malay…’
“Yes. What does that mean?”
“Look it up.” I give myself a mental high five for not enabling her.
“mal·le·a·ble adjective 1. capable of being extended or shaped by hammering or by pressure from rollers…” Woah! Not what I was going for…
”Try the next one, hon.”
“2. capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces…”
“Flexible. Malleable means flexible.” Sheesh. Thanks for your help, Webster’s…
When I was naming this blog, I gravitated to something that sounded comic-bookish. Sadly, Elastigirl was already taken, and I don’t feel like paying royalties to Disney. My friend put it perfectly: “When I saw your blog, I immediately thought of you as this Super Hero Mom.” Funny, that’s how I see me (Cue fog machine! Cue trumpet fanfare!…) Sadly, I never seem to have any cool super powers. Last night, driving home with a bad headache, for example, I would have been “SENSITIVE GIRL: Able to hear the sound of her children breathing too loudly in the back seat! Reduced to tears by the setting sun burning through her corneas! Able to sense the vibration of her son kicking her daughter’s chair like the roll of thunder!” And then, I become the villain. (Cue sinister laugh…)
When I’m in that much pain, I have no energy or patience to handle anything. This is something that people don’t always understand about chronic pain. Someone may have just had an accident, or a surgery, and be in 8-10 out of 10 pain for a given amount of time: a few weeks, or months even. But when someone has been in 5-7 out of 10 pain for years, it may seem like less pain on paper, but your energy stores are used up, and you have nothing left to handle it. The experience of living with it is worse. I have had periods of good energy before, with small periods of bad pain in between, and those times are not as bad as long periods of moderate pain that wipe me out.
Last night was rough, but one of many such nights that we have experienced over the past three years. My husband is travelling, so I’m on my own. We were out of the house, waiting for my daughter during ballet. My son also had a headache, and he gets really loud and whiny and clingy when he has one. Aaaaah – all I want to do is get.noise.away.from.me. He doesn’t have the papers that he needs to do his homework. We get home and I realize that he forgot his backpack, with my iPad in it, at the cafe in the ballet school. Blinding pain. Can’t.think. My son looks miserable. Breathe. Take one step. I call my friend who owns the cafe. It’s there and safe: I’ll get it tomorrow – after I have had a full night’s rest. I hug him. “These things happen,” I remember to say. I have to remind myself to say and do kind things when I am like this, or I will just look and act mean and miserable.
His medicine kicks in faster than mine, so he calms down, and I pull him to my lap, and give him the quiet cuddling he has wanted, with a reminder to approach me gently when I have a bad headache and he will be more likely to get what he wants. “You have a headache?” Sigh. Really? All three of us trade back rubs, and the kids put me to bed, which they love to do when I hurt. They shut down the house, and tuck themselves in. I have trained them to be very independent on days like this, and they love “feeling big” by taking care of Mommy.
I did not get a full night of sleep; pain woke me a few times. But I still got up today (incidentally, to a house full of pranks. Happy f-ing April Fools Day. My kids do not yet understand the concept of the headache hangover…) I’ll go get the bag, and all will be well. And I’ll keep going, every day, because not every day is like this. But when they are, I keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I guess I am capable of being whacked with hammers after all (Dim lights, end scene.)
(first published on Blogger on 4/1/14 6:15 AM Pacific Daylight Time)