Stress fracture = boot = big adjustment

A local community advocate that I know from running the non-profit circles suggested that I embellish my story a bit rather than my version – “I was wrestling around with Super Tall Guy trying a little stuffed-animal soccer when my foot hit the bed frame.” It seemed mild enough. In fact, I was shocked to find a little bruise in the morning and it took a minute to figure out why it was there. But when the foot was still hurting 2 weeks later, I visited a very friendly sports medicine doc (and might have talked her into becoming a foster parent! I mean, why not? I’m always encouraging!).

She looked at the x-ray. She looked at my foot. She pushed on the bones – “does this hurt?” – “well, yes!” She looked at me. “Uh, what were you planning to be doing for the next few weeks?” Well….I was planning to run the JP5K for the crisis nursery we just opened up (and I wrote a little piece for)! Ahhh!the boot

Instead, I now hear:

“Mommy, you got a boot?”

“Mommy, why you got a boot?”

“Mommy, why you not carrying me down the steps?”

“Mommy, where’s my boot?”

“Mommy, you got a boot?”

“Mommy, CARRY ME DOWN THE STEPS!!!!”

Pain-free, functional use of both my feet is certainly something I’ve taken for granted for, well, my whole life. And the ability to run after my boys is something that I’ve just assumed for the past almost 8 years….which means I’ve had to learn a few lessons this week.

1. Slow down – actually, it’s okay to sit on the couch a moment longer and put your foot up.

2. Do not kick immobile large metal objects.

3. Be patient – and try to answer the 2-year-old’s same questions over and over.

4. Take care of yourself – such an age-old mothering challenge and a huge struggle for me, despite how often I’ve heard the advice given. By day 4 of the boot, I was ready to kick it off and move on. Then I reminded myself how important it is to make sure that I heal as much as possible so that I would be healthy again for my boys.

Even if the 5-year-old does want to win against Mommy....might still not be the best idea!

Even if the 5-year-old does want to win against Mommy….might still not be the best idea!

So, how to “Take care of yourself”….

1. Exercise – keep the body healthy and limber and strong and has excellent benefits for mental health as well (but running to the point of stress fracture is not necessary).

2. Eat a varied and balanced diet – food intake affects more than weight, it affects mood and health.

3. Sleep – it’s okay to nap and get to bed shortly after the kids do (rather than stay up into the wee hours blogging …).

4. Schedule and go to appointments for your own health – not just those of the kids.

5. Let people help you, especially if they offer….and use the kids if no one has (“hey, Mr. Ornery, can you please run upstairs and get…”).

6. Keep up with a hobby or something you enjoy.

7. Smile often, laugh more.

8. Be present in as many moments as you can and enjoy them.

9. Love matters – so don’t just give it, receive it as well.

10. And before you fall asleep each night, tell yourself “You did good!” (and if necessary, stop worrying….. for tomorrow is another day).

 

The Opening of a Crisis Nursery

The week has been just a whirlwind and even though everyone’s been saying, “Wow, Easter is so late this year,” I still feel like it snuck up on me. I don’t think I slept much at all last week. There was always something to be working on in the evening. Mostly it was for Jeremiah’s Place, the crisis nursery I’ve been working to bring to Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, we had a “ribbon-cutting” ceremony and press conference. We did not have the Ribbon-Cutting portion well-planned out…as we were upstaged by a visit in town by the President and Vice-President of the US (the nerve!) so our senator on the board couldn’t be with us. We had a great time, nonetheless.ribbon cutting

It hit me a couple days prior to the event that I really would like my boys to be there. We had decided that we’d have kids cut the ribbon, but I hadn’t done much to get organized. I can’t even begin to say how much I appreciate my mom – whom I can say the day before, “So….if I trade you cars, can you pick up my younger two from daycare since you have the older two boys home for Spring Break….and bring them all to Jeremiah’s Place….and pretty much watch them while we’re there as I’ll be distracted by the media contingent….oh and try to have them wear something relatively nice!” She’s a saint…for that’s exactly what she did.

It was so meaningful to have them there with me. I know that at their ages, they were definitely more concerned with the toys they could play with and how many brownies they were allowed to have. For me, it was wonderful to share my dream and what I’ve been working on for so long. Why I stay up on my computer for 3-4 hours after they go to bed. Why I am often off to meetings in the evenings. Why I am sometimes more grumpy with them when I am stressed by the project.

Super Tall Guy was just 3 when I started working on this project. The Little Guy arrived right before my time dedicated to it really exploded. Sometimes I’ve wondered how much of their early childhood I’ve kind of missed out on because of my “volunteer work” in addition to my pay-the-bills work. I know that I’ve been physically gone more than I would like and often mentally and emotionally gone more than I would wish. This is the part where “Mommy guilt” weighs down, the part where it lets you know that no matter what you’re doing, you’ll feel guilty.

And yet, I also try to tell myself that I’m hoping the boys will one day see that putting together a huge project like this can be done if you remain persistent and committed to your dreams. That it’s possible to work together with a team of passionate people and bring a new service to life in a world that needs Hope and needs help in moments of crisis. That they will understand that it requires a lot of work to accomplish your goals. I’m imagining they might be able to look back on this when they’re 20 or 30….but for now, it’s too much about “them” and about “why aren’t you in bed yet so I can snuggle in?” …. “why are you going out again?”….. “why are you on the phone again?”

And really, my passion for this mission stems from being a foster parent. From the moment I heard the definition of a crisis nursery (4 years ago this week) as a “24/7 safe place for kids under the age of 6 when their families are in crisis,” I knew this was the work for me. For in my mind, an image of The First foster kid came to me and his mother who just needed a little support and probably a lot of sleep! And she loved her son, but every time she got stressed out as a parent she turned to drugs and then lost her kids and would work to reunite. I know that what she wanted most was just a break from the all-timing-consuming nature of parenting and a service such as Jeremiah’s Place could have given her that, as well as connections to other resources. Maybe, just maybe with all that support, The First Guy might still be living with his mother.

So, I thought – maybe if my boys see the place, they will understand just a tad more why this mission has consumed me. Maybe if they feel the excitement. Maybe if they cut the ribbon (with kid safety scissors). Maybe, just maybe, they’ll say – hey, mom did something really cool here. But really, what they said was, “Can I have another brownie?”

So I sit here on Easter Sunday, slightly regretting the fact that in my whirlwind of a week I never thought to get the boys matching Easter shirts (for the first year) and thankful that I did buy Easter basket innards much earlier as I was too exhausted last night to do much other than dump things into a basket and wonder where to hide them. But mostly I sit here eager for our first day tomorrow at Jeremiah’s Place. I am hopeful that it will be able to make a real difference in the lives of mothers, who like me, just need a little support and who definitely need a mother like mine who blessed me with a nap today in the warmth of Easter Sunday. Thank you, Mom. And thank you to everyone who has helped work on this dream. And a huge thank you to Super Tall Guy, Mr. Ornery and The Little Guy — you guys inspire me daily and exhaust me continuously. Keep it up! For I love you.