Perspective

I tucked my big ten year old in a few hours ago and settled in with a cup of licorice tea (thank you, DH), a big cozy Mariner's blanket, and the Tivo remote on the sofa. I'm tired. Birthdays are tiring. Lots of baking, and shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning, and cooking again, and cleaning again, and keeping very excited little people as calm as can be expected from event to event.

I sat down thinking I was as tired as I could remember in a while... and then my mind flicked to the day ten years ago when my beautiful daughter was born. And I thought - there are deeper levels of tired. It was a long day - 21 hours of labor, an epidural that didn't work, back labor, and a sweet little baby that only whimpered when she finally saw the light of the OR room. I was afraid to hold her because I was so exhausted I was sure I'd drop her and I made them take her back - I still remember the look on the nurse's face. I know she thought I was a terrible excuse for a mother - already.

Later I heard a nurse whisper to my husband, asking if I was always this pale. I'm pale, he said, but not this pale. I heard whispers of losing too much blood. I stayed an extra day in the hospital and it probably should have been an extra week, and when I say I felt like I might die I'm not being facetious, I really thought my body would just give up. It was tired with a tinge of fear.

But, of course, I got better. It took weeks - years really, but I managed to do it again, two more times and get here, ten years later, sitting on the sofa with my tea and my Tivo and a basically whole body thinking that I'm tired because I stood on my feet all day and managed munchkins.

Which is fine. I'm not about guilt-tripping myself or anyone else. Tired is tired and I know I'll have more tiring days, and I'll need more tea and cozy blankets, but it made me wonder about the contrast. If I hadn't known that day giving birth (to the cutest red head on the planet) I wouldn't have a point of reference for today. This might be as tired as I thought people got. I would be at the pinnacle of being run down. And it made me think about who in the world, at this very moment, is exponentially more tired than I am, or even than I was.

It made me wonder when I'm hungry and I'm feeling a little light headed because I forgot to eat lunch or the gluten free bread was so awful I just gave up, I wonder who's really hungry right now. Or really scared and out of control -- more scared than I was ten years ago, and more out of control. Because you know on this globe someone somewhere is truly tired, and truly hungry, and truly scared. And I just said a prayer for them, and for myself to remember, not in a "oh you have it so good quit complaining" sort of way, because I'm a big fan of venting, but just to remember to use how I'm feeling as a trigger to think about the other people out there - like the me from ten years ago that would have given anything to be only this tired.

7 comments:

-K said...

Very well said, and I very much needed to read that tonight. Thanks.

December 3, 2010 at 12:19 AM
Melissa Marsh said...

It is so easy to get sucked into our worlds and forget that there are so many people hurting out there. I do it all the time and sometimes I need a jolt (like this blog post!) to remember that i am very blessed, even with health issues and money issues and the rest of it. Thanks, Robin. I needed this today. :-)

And happy belated b'day to your little one!

December 3, 2010 at 8:23 AM
Jennie Bailey said...

Wow, Robin! This post blew me away. I'm going to bookmark it because I need this reminder too. It's very easy for me to slip into "I'm so tired" (I was just doing it this morning). I think it's a fabulous idea to turn it around and think of the people who are truly tired. It's good for us vent, but what a great twist on it at the end. Vent for us, then a quick prayer for others.

December 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM
Carolina Valdez Miller said...

It's a good reminder--count the blessings and recognize that it could be worse...but it's okay to wish that you weren't as tired as you are, too. You're no less tired knowing that it's been worse or that it is worse for others. But thinking of others in your time of need is a great show of character and says a lot about you. So does the effort that you must have put into your kiddo's birthday. Well done, Mama.

I hope it was an amazing birthday filled with bright, new memories for both of you.

December 3, 2010 at 7:45 PM
Cheri said...

So well thought through and so well said. I remember your great grandmother saying some nights she was too tired to unbutton her dress so she just fell into bed with all her clothes still on her weary body. Many years down the road when the eight children were raised, grandpa had gone on to heaven and the farm was sold, alone in her apartment, she longed for the days when she was exhausted amongst them all. She prayed through the exhaustion and through the loneliness. Her legacy lives on in you. I am so blessed by you.

December 4, 2010 at 11:14 AM
Robin said...

I just got caught up on your last few blog posts since I've been busy in Egypt-land, and I just wanted to say how much I loved this. LOVE.

December 7, 2010 at 10:45 PM
Michelle said...

I'm a little late here, but this a gorgeous blog and a wonderful post in particular. I know just what you mean. Now, when I feel a little tired or hurt a bit here or there, I think back to my worst injury and THAT pain. I think we have those moments given to us to learn empathy with people who are constantly in pain (such as my mother) and to remember them in our prayers. What a very good reminder this post is! (And I know what you mean about giving the baby back to the nurse because of exhaustion; I did that with my second child. Took one good look and passed out!) Bittersweet thing, motherhood!

December 29, 2010 at 4:30 PM

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