We are what we think. Thoughts from my sister….
So here I am, confined to my beautiful, sanctuary of a home for 6 weeks, recovering from a hip replacement at the tender age of 45. “You’re so young for a hip replacement!”, everyone says. “What happened?” “Nothing glamourous,” I say. “No accident or extreme sports injury. Just bad bones.”
Lying in my hospital bed for the first few days, I started thinking my life over, as one does when one has time to reflect. I have an angel of a husband, whom I do acknowledge, sits too low down on my daily lists. I have two really special kids that give me many happy “lump in the throat” moments, a big retail job that I love (most of the time), a peaceful family home and some great pets and friends to complete the picture. But as I lie – just a number in this hospital factory where I am only a small, temporary part of a very efficient system – I think seriously about my fabulous life and the question of balance comes up again.
The afternoon after my operation when my family came to visit, I noticed things I am not sure I would have picked up a few weeks ago, when my head would then have been full of transactional stuff, to do lists and tasks and, “What’s for supper,” and more. My restless husband, body language so clear – arms folded and pacing, the eternal optimist – willing me to be fine. My teenage daughter, always so gracefully composed yet this time her beautiful, big blue eyes tinged with concern. And my twelve-year-old son, perpetual motion, examining everything to see how it works, but every few minutes coming back to me, touching me with his warm, chunky, boy hands. I don’t think I would have noticed all this had I not been this way – very special things to me, much more meaningful than, “Are your bags packed?” or “Is the table cleared away?” or whether I have made the grocery list for tomorrow.
Back to balance then – the working mom conversation – an old one but very much in play as I recover, quite happily actually, and slowly at home. Much easier than I thought although I needed some discipline in the beginning not to look at my work emails or worry about the girls at the office and whether they were managing fine. Well, in my absence, I reminded myself, again, that life goes on. Sure, I may be missed but the retail cycle ticks along regardless of who’s in charge.
I asked my daughter once, during my recovery period, “Am I an OK Mom?” to which she replied, “Of course but you are much nicer since you have been at home; you’re not so shouty”. How right she is. My life slowed down for a while and so I had quality time and quantity time without the (self-induced) pressure of a career mom’s lifestyle.
Can I keep this up, when I go back to work – protect my balance and still do everything I want to for me and for my family? Of course I can, I have thought about this a lot. But it requires a different kind of discipline, one I am ready for, quite seriously. This is not a new conversation but I have a new solution, thanks to my also new hip.
And here’s the twist in my tale. I need to have my other hip replaced as well in the near future. However, I have a theory I am going to try, one of, “Can brains and good karma beat biology?” If I slow down, take the pressure off, shift my balances and spend time on the right aspects of my life, I think I can stall the coming of a second new hip.
I don’t need to be superwoman; I just need to keep on being a super woman.