Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving Thanks and Learning to Help in Different Ways

I had an incredible visit with my son over the Thanksgiving weekend.  I get so mushy during this holiday because I have so much that I'm thankful for!  I could have filled the little tree I made with all of the tags I printed out; I literally had to stop myself so I could save room for others.

These are just a few of the photos I snapped before everyone got a chance to write gratitudes of their own.  My mom was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in late January and continues to be one of my greatest heroes in this thing called Life.  I plan to write about her inspiration often in this blog; she always views life with such reverence and joy and positivity!

The decorations were a hit and my family really seemed to love them- especially the tree.  My sister wanted to keep the tree at her house for a while and doesn't even want to take down the rest of the decorations I made.   This makes me so happy because what would have taken most people a day, at most, to create, took me four days and all the energy I had.  By the time the actual holiday came around, my pain had soared. 

My son lives 250 miles away from me (if you want to know more about why, visit my first post; I explain the situation as best I can)  and each time I get to see him, his dad and I meet halfway which ends up in a four hour car ride for all involved.  For some reason, car rides really send me into a flare up of pain.   Mostly my back, my hips, and my knees are the joints affected and they just burn.  So a car ride on Wednesday and then another on Sunday with the crazy holidays in between has this girl layin' low today!

However, it is so worth it any time I get to spend time with my son.  And he's at a point where he understands if I need to rest for an hour here or there in between activities.  That's not to say he doesn't get frustrated from time to time- anyone would.  But we got a lot accomplished this trip and I really savor every minute we are together. 

We made jewelry, played card games, set up and decorated the tree, went to a craft show, hung out with family, went for a walk, worked on a holiday craft, we even laid in bed and both worked on our knitting projects on Saturday night while watching SNL!  And in between, we had some great conversations; it never ceases to amaze me how bright and intuitive this kid is.  I love him more than I could ever put into words- if you're a mama, you know what I mean.

Even though I put a lot into the decorations, I still felt some guilt about not being able to help out more.  My mom usually cooks, but since she is sick, us girls wanted to take over so that she could relax this year.  My mom helped with the turkey and some other things, but we kept having to tell her to sit down and take a load off (this woman likes to keep busy!).  My two sisters took care of about everything else, and by the time dinner was over, I had to lay down (just sitting is hard for me and sometimes feels like a task).  With the help of my mom's husband and my son, my sisters cleaned everything up as well.  I wanted so badly to get up and just help but my body just wouldn't let me.

Does anyone else ever get to that brick wall point?  It feels like no matter how hard your brain tells you to get up and move, your body just doesn't obey!  It's awful and I felt so horrible for not being able to help out more.  Sure the decorations were great, but they definitely weren't all that.  Besides, I like being helpful- I want to help people, especially after all of the help my family gives me.  It's been interesting finding different ways of helping and offering help.  I've had to get creative to really feel like I'm doing my part.

What are some ways you all feel like you are able to help, not only your family, but your community as well?  Do you get frustrated?  And how do you deal with that frustration?

I hope everyone was able to have a great holiday and enjoy family and friends!

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