When things are tough on a daily basis – you know like living with the kind of pain that can have you literally writhing and flopping in agony on your couch – I find myself living for those small, almost insignificant moments that I think others miss.
For example, I just spent two days with a mind-splitting, body-wrenching migraine that I was sure was going to crack my head open like a coconut any moment. I couldn’t stand to be touched. I couldn’t eat. I could barely think. Homework was out of the question and so was going anywhere outside the house. I was left to writhe – literally at times – in agony flopping around the couch trying to use cushions and the couch itself to put enough pressure on my head to find an iota of relief. Crazy, right?
On top of my migraine agony, my shoulders and neck were extra sore and stiff from undergoing a diagnostic procedure for my neck that made my usual ache a lot worse. My pain levels were off the charts. That was my Friday and Saturday.
So, let’s jump forward to Sunday. Finally, finally I get relief. I listened to my body and when I wasn’t completely nauseated, I took my pain meds in those fleeting moments my body allowed. I have learned to read the signs and to understand my body in a way that I never have because of these migraines. I timed it just right: I slept the right amount so that my overall stiffness and soreness would be diminished. So, although I didn’t run a Marathon or compete in the Olympics, this day made me feel like I had crossed the finish line and won the gold!
I was able to sit on the couch and cuddle with my husband. I was able to run to the grocery store in the evening to get a few things. And, I was able to cook. Cooking is one of the blissful and lovely things I get to do in this life. My mother loathed cooking, as she did anything domestic or nurturing that made her be even remotely what a mother was supposed to be. So, I learned to cook at a very young age out of necessity but always with an extremely limited budget. I never learned to experiment and what joy I did find as a child eluded me as I adopted my mother’s repugnance for the task as a teenager. Only after I got with my husband and inherited my most prized possessions – my babies – did I discover, somewhere in the humdrum of life and finally being happy with my own family, that I just love to cook. It is actually a very creative process for me. It is stress relieving and creative and uplifting, just like my artwork.
So, although I felt better and got to cook, don’t think for a minute that I was doing gymnastics in the kitchen and making something trailblazing. I had a gluten free tomato basil soup kit that was super simple. I just added onions and extra spices to make it my own. And, I used gluten-free bread and a veggie cheese to make grilled cheese sandwiches. I am gluten free because I am gluten intolerant. And, I don’t eat cheese any more because it is a really big trigger for my RA flares, just like red meat. I just warmed up frozen burritos for my kids and then peeled apples for them.
All of these things are simple tasks. No mind-blowing scientific discovery or solving world peace or finding a way to sustain the ever-dwindling water resources upon the earth. Just a mom standing in the kitchen cooking for her family – and not even from scratch. But, that was my moment and it made me smile and made me happy. It relaxed me after two very difficult days. It encouraged me and made me feel content at the core of who I am. I could stand. I could cook. I could show my family love in a very tangible way. I am not always able to do this. I love it when I can….