Loving Jane’s tea post from a few days ago, and trying to figure out how to catch up with everyone. And these things have something to do with each other.
(Much of my absence has been devoted to one of our clients, www.spout.com, which is in beta now, and will go through more changes before its official launch this fall. If you check it out, I am “Ingrid” on the site. Anyway, it’s a fast-moving project, time consuming, and pretty exciting.)
We’ve been working our way back to Maine, our annual restoration destination, which is where I am now. Longtime readers will recall we had to cancel last year when Mom was sick. She wanted to come here, but didn’t make it. This year, two days before we got on the plane, Dad fell and broke his hip.
My Dad has very poor short-term memory. Wanted to walk off the break a minute after it happened. Of course, the poor guy needed surgery, but doesn’t remember he’s had it, and has a hard time putting together what’s happened to him. He just wants to go back home.
I decided to take my vacation anyway. Leave him in the very capable care of my three siblings and their spouses and the various medical professionals, and go as planned. The guilt is saltier than the air around here.
My feelings about this make no sense whatsoever. I know this. I know that there is no comfort I could give him in person that he could hang onto, that would make it better for him. If I were there, I wouldn’t relieve my siblings, who would be just as present and worried as they are without me. I can’t make him heal faster, or turn back the clock and catch him before he fell. I could only make myself feel better by performing as the good daughter. But being there would not give me any control over this situation.
So now the trick is to breathe and try to translate what I know cognitively to some kind of emotional understanding. Because what I want to do right now?
I haven’t stopped thinking about food since I got here. Normally this is a place where I am so removed from the presense or thought of food, and so exposed to opportunities for exercise that I can count on dropping a few pounds by the end of my vacation. Not sure that’s going to happen this time around. I arrived in a bit of a mess, nursing muscle spasms and a pinched nerve in my neck, migraines, arthritic feet, and various and sundry distresses from the pain medication for the above ailments.
I feel stupid. I feel as if I’ve wallowed in… something. Not self-pity, but self-denial. I’ve wallowed in self-denial. Despite knowing better, knowing full well what’s going on, I have not been taking Care Of My Self.
Taking this time is taking a step in the right direction, but it’s not much of a step at all if I spend it unable to shake my guilt or give my body the diet and exercise it needs now that I really have no barriers to healthy habits at all.
Why is this lesson, the lesson of self-care, so hard to learn? How old will I be before I both understand how to take care of myself and also choose to do it, especially during times of stress? I hope it happens soon, because I’m looking down the road, and see plenty of losses ahead. I must find the graceful and healthy path through.
But. I am walking hills, hills, hills. I am drinking my water. I am sleeping. I am looking for and consuming every veggie on the island (a challenge, let me tell you).
I’m also finding some great yarn. Check out peacefleece.com, knitters.
Meantime, I will take any tips or tricks you’d like to share for restricting guilt consumption. I have a feeling it’s fattening.
Oh. Also we have a new kitten. Her name is Hattie. More on her later.
Miss you guys too.