Things have been a little rough for me. I'm still adjusting to my diagnosis and the unexpected ways this stupid lymphedema impacts daily life. It seems silly sometimes, but even in the silliness there is validity in the struggles that come up...
For instance, when we get a chance to meet the neighbors down the street, and the mom is one of those effortlessly elegant women who look incredibly chic without seemingly any thought put into it. And, noticing she's hanging out in pretty jewelled sandals with a perfect summer pedicure.
She was really nice, and I'm glad we talked and our kids get along. But it was hard for me, too.
See, I can't get pedicures any more, unless it's from somewhere licensed to work on diabetics. I'm NOT diabetic, but my feet kind of are.
And, I have to wear these thick compression garments on both legs to keep the swelling in check, and make sure the excess protein from the lymph fluid does not cause structural changes in my feet. Because those changes in the tissue, should I get a scrape or a bug bite, could send me to ICU within hours. Infection is an ever-present threat.
Thus, sandals are not an option now. That sucks a whole lot. It's silly vanity and yet, it's not. Just something that 99% of people take for granted, and it feels like it's in my FACE and it's no one's issue but mine, and holy crapola does it lay me low sometimes.
I really hate that I don't get to look like other moms, or dress like them, or even hang out in the early evening in the yard with the kids because mosquitoes adore me and I get ginormous infected hives on my legs. Which tend to lead to rashes that don't heal for months. And, you know, back in the hospital and riding the antibiotic train. Fun.
I HATE that this reality impacts my child because of the way I feel about myself. I HATE that, and I am trying so hard to work past it.
I wear the garments because I know that doing so helps keep me safer, and HERE for my daughter. But, seriously? I hate it. Everything about it. It's hot and ugly and itchy and time-consuming and embarrassing and most of all, devastating to my sense of protecting my vulnerabilities to have such an outwardly VISIBLE issue.
People can look at my legs and *see* there's something wrong with me.
That is what I hate most of all: that I can't hide it completely. I don't show people what makes me vulnerable. You don't see Superman handing out Kryptonite, do you?
One of the most amazing blessings of motherhood, or I should say, to being the mother of the most amazing child I've ever known, is seeing that Monkey doesn't give a rat's patootie about my legs.
She just loves me. 'Cuz, I'm her mommy.
And when she tells me things like, "I love you more than the pink toothbrush AND the blue toothbrush," I melt completely.
She's saying that her most valued possessions don't hold a candle to Mommy, and that is awe-inspiring love.
This weekend, she told me I'm "da best maker in da world!"
I had to think about that one... maker...maker of...what?? (had to just ask her)
My beautiful child looked at me like I was an idiot and replied, "Maker of DA FOOD!!"
<I made a batch of homemade "Momma Fries" this weekend. Truly, a standout success in my kitchen repertoire.>
She might never fully realize what her love means to me. But I hope she does know, somehow.
I hope she knows that her sleepy head on my shoulder, with her arms around my neck and feet dangling (so much lower than they used to go-- good LORD, she's growing!)... with her not-so-whispered "I love you, Mommy," is the equivalent of about 10 shots of Valium to this over-worked, stressed-out working mom.
I hope she hears in her laughter the absolute MUSIC that I do. And that it is, by far, my all-time-favorite song.
I hope she also sees that there is no calling on earth more honorable or super-hero-iffic than being her Mommy.
I hope she knows that her faith in me makes me want to be a better person.
Because she deserves a mom who completely rocks and I want to do that for her.
...Even if she *does* lick my glasses because she thought they were "sad they didn't get a kiss."
Nothing I have ever seen or felt can compare to the love and gratitude I have for my little girl.