The Holidays. Truly, they seem to start in October and last, at least for us, until February (Our kid’s birthdays are Feb 5th and Feb 7th along with a slew of birthdays in January). They are always packed full of stress that range from mommy guilt (Did I get the kids enough? Did I get them too much? Am I raising self-entitled little brats?) to how in hell am I going to get to all these holiday events? My heart always swells to see people with tears in their eyes as they pay for a lonely veteran’s dinner at Governor’s on Thanksgiving to hearing about all the people who donate to those who are less fortunate. And while there is a lot of stress, there is always tons of cheer and positivity, if only you push aside the stress and breathe in the joy of this time of the year.
This year, I was given the gift of needing emergency surgery. I know, you are thinking “gift”? How can this be a gift? I also struggled with this thought as I drove from Belfast to Bangor in excruciating pain only to find out I had an 8lb ovarian cyst that needed to come out. Within a day, I was prepped for surgery, only to find there was another ovarian cyst that needed to come out. It meant pain, it meant another medical bill, it meant we would lose a week of pay all right before Christmas. My holiday spirit was crashing. Why does this always happen to me?
But, there was another side to this journey, one that I hadn’t thought about and wouldn’t be able to think about until I let the stress of it all go.
Yes, I did lose a week’s worth of pay and was stuck in bed for 4 days as I recovered from surgery. But I got something that was so much more important. My daughter, who lives with us during the school week, when I work until 8pm typically and get very little time with her, goes to her Mom’s on the weekend. But, because I had this surgery, I was home the entire last week before her school vacation. Each day, she came upstairs to tell me she loved me and see how I was doing. Then she would crawl in bed with me and play Uno (her idea) while Daddy worked on getting Nat to bed. We got to watch movies together and get that extra time that I wouldn’t have been able to have with her, had I not needed surgery. Something that my paycheck can’t buy.
This time with my daughter really made my heart swell, and all the stress fell away. All that mattered was this little girl who was so excited that I was home. “I like it when you are sick.” Oh, the words that come out of the mouth of babes.
Sometimes we need something to stop us, to ground us, so we can see what we are missing when we are usually bustling about. The holidays are about something so much more, and I am thankful for my 10lbs of ovarian cysts (though, as I step on the scale, it certainly isn’t reflecting a loss of 10lbs) that gave me this extra time with my daughter.