It has been rainy and dark here for a long time. I have been saying for a while that I don’t mind the rain. Compared to where I grew up, in Northern BC, where the cold, snowy winters can last from October to April, the rain seemed so inconsequential. But I’ve been living in Southern BC for several years now, the memories of those long, cold winters have faded from memory and I am feeling very affected by the darkness and rain of Vancouver winters.
I took this past Tuesday off work. I had to take Lincoln for his 18month immunization in the morning and was originally going to come into work afterwards but really, who wants to come into work at 11am after being off all morning? Not me. So I decided to use a vacation day and have the whole day off. Unfortunately it stayed dark and gloomy, like dusk, all day – and my mood matched the weather, as it has for a few weeks now. I tried to make the best of it by hitting the gym but I had no heart for it. I managed a very short run on the treadmill before throwing in the towel. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read, which I managed to do for about 45 minutes.
Wednesday wasn’t much better. Cold, dark and rainy. And when arriving home after picking the kids up from daycare I discovered Lincoln was having a reaction from his immunization. He was swollen grotesquely and red/purple from his arm, up to his neck and across his chest. He was sporting one breast that was about a “C” cup. I made the mistake of posting a picture of it on Facebook to see if anyone else had had seen this sort of reaction and the place blew up. People freaked about it which made me regret posting the picture and I eventually took it down. Since it didn’t seem to be bothering him too much and he didn’t have a fever, I was of the school that we keep an eye on him at home and treat with Tylenol. I spoke with three different nurses and determined I was doing the right thing. Still, it was just another thing to jam into my mind to worry about. (The swelling has since gone down considerably and he is now only an “A” cup).
I’m really ready for things to smooth out. Or do they ever smooth out when you have a young family? Is this just how life is going to be for me now? Riding wave after wave after wave of illness, injury and issues? I keep thinking I’m relieved to have made it through X, Y, or Z but then just when I start to feel comfortable again, something else happens.
I find it really hard to find time for self care. I live in a bee’s nest of craziness, trying to balance work, life, kids, marriage, home, fitness, etc. Every time I do something for myself I can’t help but feel guilt. Guilt for spending the money on a new book or pedicure when I should be paying bills. Guilt for taking a vacation day at work when I could be gaining ground on an ongoing project. Guilt for leaving the kids in daycare on a day that I am at home. Guilt for going for a run and leaving Steve alone with the kids when they are being demons. Guilt for having a beer on a Friday afternoon when I should be using that time to exercise. Guilt for missing a planned trip to the gym when I’m just too fucking tired.
Yesterday the sun shone for the first time since I can remember. I could not believe how great it made me feel. I came home from work, strapped on my runners and headed out for a 5km. During my run, I got a text from Steve saying “run past the beer store”, which meant that he was having a hard time with the kids. When I got home he was frustrated and struggling as they had been maniacs while I was gone (for 35 minutes). And all that great feeling that came from my running in the fresh air and daylight got stuffed down as I jumped in trying to calm things down, get people in the bath, make dinner, clean up, etc.
It’s been a rough go the past few months, one thing after another. I know there’s got to be a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Spring will come. The sun will shine more regularly again. The kids will not be sick every other week. The time between catastrophes will hopefully start stretching out a little longer.
In the meantime, I’ll swirl around in the rain, and keep trying to find the elusive life balance. What else can I do but to keep trudging forward and hoping for a little sunshine and good luck to come my way.