I spent some time in the hospital at the end of 2013, and although it wasn’t serious, it was enough to get me thinking about a part 2 for the 50 Things I Need To Tell My Kid article that I posted more than a year ago.
I’ve had Crohn’s for years, but I’ve been lucky enough to manage it with basic treatment (5-ASA drugs) and a few non-admittance visits to the hospital. This year, I wasn’t as lucky.
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During my stays my thoughts flew from panic to enlightenment, to engulfing sadness, to Hannibalesque (A-Team not Lecter) cigar-chomping-life-planning, and then back again. I missed my kid so much it hurt. Her sticky sweet face loomed in my heart, my mind, and my hazy drug-misted dreams.
When she’d come and visit she’d sit there looking far too wise for her three years, asking me questions about the doctors and machines and the I.V. tubes in a kind of detached objective curiosity. A few minutes later she would wiggle onto my bed, burrow into my side, and hold my hand as I kissed the top of her lovely, static-y fine hair.
Those moments of warmth were the most potent treatment. I breathed her in, and her tiny voice would be all but lost as she pressed her face in my side and said:
“Mummy, I’m never letting you go. Never.”
I’m never letting go either, Vee.
Here are a few more things for that list I wrote for you. I know we’ll keep adding to it together as the years go by.
And just so you know, there will always be enough room to hold you close, no matter how small the bed, and no matter how big you get.
- Count blessings, not calories.
- Tell people how awesome they are whenever you have the chance.
- Feel the beautiful promise of multiple futures in every single moment, and then move forward with confidence and joy into the unknown.
- Ask for help, and then actually accept it.
- Sometimes it’s okay to be hungry.
- Eat mindfully.
- On down days, exercise your brain and your creative muscle—your heart.
- On up days, get up, get out, and push yourself into action.
- You are always very important, even so, you might not be next in line.
- Pain and suffering are not a competition. If you know someone who thinks it is, you should probably let them win and run away. Quickly.
- Use your words.
- When life takes you out of the equation, it makes everyone rethink the formula and find new answers on their own. This is a good thing.
- Very few people feel their age, and even fewer act it. This can also be a good thing.
- Spontaneous bursts of robot dancing may actually solve most of life’s problems.
- If you really want something but your options are limited, tap into your MacGyver instincts and get creative. If you can’t accomplish your goal using an avocado rind, a safety pin, and a Matchbox car, at least you’ll have had a good laugh.
- Sometimes you just have to lie there and feel everything. And that might mean screaming, crying, snotting, laughing, and being waterlogged for the rest of the day. And that’s okay, too.
- It’s okay to not know what your next move is going to be.
- If someone unfollows or unfriends you online or in life after you voice your most genuine and heartfelt thoughts, take a moment to celebrate.
- Sometimes you’ll want to share and you won’t be able to find the words. Sometimes you’ll have all the words and won’t be able to find your voice. It’s okay. Stories have a way of telling themselves.
- That thing you think you can’t live without? Give it away. Right now.
- You don’t need bravado, buzz, jazz hands, or a hashtag to be loved.
- Give yourself permission to be happy…all the time.
- Ask a question as many times as it takes for you to fully understand the answer. No more, no less.
- Families can be conventional or cobbled together from friends. Either way, they can be filled with drama, eye-rolling, seismic competition…and nothing matters more.
- There is never harm in reading "just one more" story, or giving one last hug or kiss goodnight.
- Sometimes you’ll drop everything, because you love someone and they need you. Feel good about it, even when someone else calls that "dropping the ball."
- There is always enough time to pat the dog.
- Adaptation might be the key to happiness, but a sense of humour will pick the lock just fine.
- Flying by the seat of your pants still means you’re flying.
- Anything can happen. And I mean anything.