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The First 2 Weeks: Woe or Whoa
Maybe just maybe the first 2 weeks of most new experiences in life can be woe or whoa depending upon our will. I can make choices & take action in certain directions yet sometimes the net result is not what I would have ever asked for. Will then is simply the choice to decide upon our state of mind or attitude in any given situation. When things are going well, isn’t this easy? And of course when rough waters blast us, the determination or our choice over our thoughts or how we are going to live our lives can turn us into victims if we are not vigilant. I totally believe in this so much so that my whole life follows the firm foundation that I have the will to choose my thoughts, and give my struggles meaning & decide not to be a general pain in the butt even when I am going through challenges.
When we think about the first 2 weeks of any given list of thoughts, where does your mind reside for a significant amount of time? I like to think that I balance my thoughts out between the sentiment of remembering & taking the best parts of my past with me, being present in the moment (albeit this a continuous work in progress) & being prepared for the future that I see in my mind. When I ask myself about thoughts about the first 2 weeks quickly the images of many memories come to mind as well as future dreams. From the past, I smile to think of the first 2 weeks of university, the first 2 weeks of being newly married, the first 2 weeks of life with each of our 3 sons, the first 2 weeks of new jobs, the first 2 weeks of living in our forever home & the first 2 weeks with each of our golden retrievers. With a heavy heart I also easily remember the first 2 weeks after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the first 2 weeks after the loss of loved ones, the first 2 weeks after being diagnosed with psoriasis, the first 2 weeks of finding out about all the food allergies. The first list of the first 2 weeks for sure falls into the “whoa this is joy!” The second list (through will over my attitude) is constantly being kept at bay from falling into the category of “woe is me.” Today, I will share with you the first 2 weeks that is closer to the present moment.
Our oldest son just started high school this past September. It is turning out to be a fabulous experience. Although Matt is keeping the “boy code” of not admitting in a direct way that he is loving high school, his demeanor says it all. He has been talking non stop about his days each day. Ah, finally, gone are the days of the grunt or surly body language ever present throughout his elementary school days. I am beyond happy for him. He is working really diligently & I am profoundly proud of his iniative & hard work. Yay, the first 2 weeks of his high school have been excellent. This is the first year that our 3 sons have each been in different schools. Like so many parents out there, it is challenging getting the boys out the door on time to each of their schools. Our sons had not even had to ride a school bus to school previously since we always lived within walking distance to the school. That has changed for 2 of our sons this year. I kind of thought of the bus at best as a footnote when we were preparing for the beginning of this new school year. The reality is that both of our sons that are taking the bus have already learned through natural consequences that the bus driver is not their mom because there are no verbal prompts to get on the bus on time. In the first 2 weeks, our sons missed the bus 3 times. This is not a huge deal but does add to the chaos & I have found myself taking more than a few deep breaths before responding to minor aggravations like the missed bus or telephone tag & stuff that is just that…stuff that happens…stuff that happens to all of us. Our youngest son, Alex is an old soul living in a little boy’s body & he is responsible & mature & kind & organized. He is at the same school this year & he is doing just fine with the exception of his frustration about how difficult reading is for him. It will come with practice & time but he seems to put pressure on himself to be further advanced in reading than he is. His job this year will likely be to lighten up a little. And it is my job to help him with that along with the other mom stuff each parent does & that is the most natural thing in the world. While I am helping Alex lighten up, I will also tap myself on the shoulder & tell myself to lighten up at the same time. Our son who is our second born son is a sweet, wired, impulsive, science loving fellow. He has a very cool talent for picking up languages & saying the phrases with an accent that would have you believe that he was from the country of origin that he has learned the language from. He is at a brand new school taking extended French. He is having ongoing challenges as he has recently been diagnosed with severe ADHD, anxiety disorder & tourettes. Each day of the first 2 weeks with him riding a school bus for the first time & attending a new school for the first time have been exhausting with new problems to solve each & every day. Trying to get a learning program in place has been like banging our heads against the wall largely due to murphy’s law. Although my husband & I started the process of setting up a meeting at the new school to partner in development of the learning plan, one thing after the other happened to delay the meeting. Three weeks can go by in the blink of an eye & the wheels metaphorically can fall right off the bus. That is what has happened. Our 2 younger sons get out of school at exactly the same time so that complicates things yet parents are creative entities aren’t we? We figure out oodles of things while tackling a zillion other things. Can we admit that it can get tiring though? I have never pretended to be anyone other than myself, a flawed human being living a beautiful, messy life of love. The thing is that we always find a way for our kids & of course everything will be absolutely fine for our dear heart son even though it is taking a longer chunk of time than hoped & has caused greater stress than we would have ever invited as parents for our son, and our family. Please don’t get me wrong, the school is absolutely fantastic. The person who co-ordinates the learning programs has a family member who is extremely ill so in the overall picture, our personal stress level pales in comparison to that. It is all going to be okay.
The first 2 weeks of this school year were ones that although I kept intellectually telling myself to just keep things in perspective, my subconscious went on overdrive. It gave my mind a barrage of worries…worries about our middle son’s well being. Let’s face it, a piece of a parent’s heart goes with his or her children always. Worrying profusely though does not provide one iota of positive outcome. I know this, I have lived this & I am still learning this big time. I have learned this the hard way & I am still learning this the hard way. I kept trying to reason with my worrying thoughts during the first 2 weeks of this school year & I thought I was doing not too bad a job at this. My body disagreed. The mind –body connection can be powerful in my experience as far as my health is concerned. It does not mean that if I think warm, fuzzy thoughts that I will have picture perfect health, yet for sure if I go down the spiraling well of worry & negative “what if” or worst case scenario thinking then my health almost certainly will become poor in one form or another. Boom, at the end of the first week of the school year, my body got slammed by my subconscious wringing of hands throughout that 7 days. The psoriasis on my legs flared worse than when I was first diagnosed after the strep throat last March. Then, right on top of that, my blood sugars naturally did their angry dance upwards with continuous high, exhausting, Lake emptying blood sugars. But my body was not finished with me by a long shot unfortunately. On top of those 2 things, I got double over with agony abdominal pains for 3 continuous days. Then was on top of that on September 6th in the form of a scream from my body I totally broke out in hives. Maybe these are hives on metaphorical steroids because they are big time brutal. These are the hives from hell part 2. Why part 2? This is only the second time in my life that I have gotten hives but both times they have come about from the same source & I have gotten them in a beastly way. I don’t do anything small time hence my favourite saying of “big time”…big time though, that is also how I am getting hives & the impacts of that! So now I am entering into week 3 with these hives. The hives are from stress so my mind sure knows how to do a number on me. The last time I got hives I was in first year university & I came down with hives during end of first semester exams. I remember the absurdity of sitting in my philosophy exam writing an essay answer on providing proof that pain actually exists. It took all my mental fibre not to refer to exhibit "A" as the fact that I was covered in hive welts over 90% of my body while writing the exam. Hell, ya, pain existed then & it does now too. Anyhow, my mind spiraled so much the first time I got hives that I ended up in the hospital for a week. So, when I broke out in hives this time around, I sure have reasoned myself into not freaking out so badly that I take already bad hives & send them into overdrive. The itching pain has been relentless & has taken over my life pretty much over the past couple of weeks. Here’s a question for you. What do you think the number of nights without sleep for you would be the point where you begin to feel like you are losing it? The number for me I know through this latest bout with hives is 10 nights. For 10 nights I slept a total of 1-1 & a half hours a night in 15 minute increments. It just about drove me berserk. I tried everything to get some sleep & I sought help from both Western & Eastern medicine as well but ultimately no one & nothing has been able to help so I have had to ride out the duration of these hives with an I hope these are just over soon attitude. The last couple of nights I have managed to get 4 hours sleep so I am beginning to feel more like myself. And I have a greater & magnified appreciation for the simple joy of uninterrupted sleep. Still though through all of this I refuse to go to that place of woe is me. I wish that I could be super Saundie & say that I have felt over the past 3 weeks that I have met these challenges with a “Whoa, don’t mess with me” constantly. That would not be accurate especially on the day that I was driving home from the doctor’s with tears streaming down my face in exhaustion & discomfort. The best I can truthfully say is that I admit that my health has messed with me…whoa, it messed with me yet I have known all along that I will get better at least with the hives & would later be able to say “whoa, I appreciate feeling better again.”
Will over our thoughts was best described by my all time fully human hero. His book has pulled me back into perspective during challenges every single time since I was 20 years old. Even his first name says it all…Viktor… We have the choice to become a “Victor/Viktor” or a victim. So, no woe is me. Yes, it messed with me but I am still standing, fighting, hoping, believing & knowing that light always gets the last word.
My heart’s hope for you is that during those times when you feel messed with that you remember that you are a victor too. We each have that within ourselves. It is definitely within you. Whoa, you & I are fighters, believers with hope, with a "whoa, we choose to be victors" way of living our lives. We get knocked down yet whoa, you better believe we get back up big time every time!
Smiles, Saundie :)
Whoa, we are in this together. If you & I get knocked down from time to time, friends don't let friends stay knocked down. And I have to come to learn how to become a better friend to myself so that even if no one else is around when I get knocked down, I pick myself up. I want that for you too. May you always feel that whoa, I choose to be a victor within you every day. Next Monday's story is yet to be written. xo