Counting the blessings after the curveball

I have half attempted blogging over the last few weeks, but have not managed to complete one; I had forgotten the cathartic benefits of writing stuff down and putting it “out there”. Today I need the catharsis.

Yesterday was one of those days that come out of the blue and knock you for six.  Thursday had been lovely, starting with a family run and ending with dinner with a friend and her group of friends who are very delightful and interesting and strong women.

Then it went downhill fast with the offspring waking with a very high fever.   Something made my maternal flags go up, so I sought medical advice.  All of a sudden we were on the way to A&E with a case of suspected sepsis or meningitis.  Neither were happening thank God. It was a long morning of tests and waiting for results, but the end result was that we were given the all clear for those nasties and sent home with a stash of antibiotics.

It was a shocking reminder that life can be fragile, things go wrong quickly and in a moment life changes forever.  Yesterday ended well, with offspring feeling better and the whole family at home.  Nevertheless the Mama-brain has spent many hours with the what-ifs, and processing the fact that I had forgotten about meningitis being a thing for teens, that I had started to think that those scary days of watching little ones be very poorly were behind me.  The scary days just involve someone much taller than me, but they’re no less scary it turns out.

I went to bed thankful for our NHS, for the friends that stayed by me via text all day, for the support of family, for having jobs that enable us to switch to a family focus with no notice (or in my case to work part-time). And most of all, that the offspring is getting better and those nasty illnesses were not a reality I am living with today.

Some days turn out better than expected

Generally I am a glass half full type of person. This week I am struggling with a cold and with a full diary, which is preventing the recovery time I need. So my glass looks nearly empty right now.

This morning started with a grumpy version of myself who had slept badly and was struggling to start the day. The day is ending with me feeling very accomplished. Have I ticked everything off the to-do list? Nope, I just do not have the energy. Have I looked after myself as much as I can and done as much as I can otherwise? Oh yes.

I asked for help, I let folks know I don’t feel well and of course, just as I do for everyone else, people rallied around to help. I got a lift somewhere when I thought I would have to walk or take a long bus journey. I snuck in a nap whilst someone else cooked dinner. The floors got washed in preparation for a meeting this evening in my house.

And then, I also tried to notice the nice things people do, even without me saying I am under the weather. Someone called and chatted through how to publicise an event at church, so I wasn’t left feeling I was trying to work things out on my own. The meeting in my house was productive and friendly and a group of people who did not know each other a month ago is starting to feel like we have a shared interest and were sharing some of our stories with each other.

My long work meeting was productive and amongst people I like and respect. I had meaningful contact with friends on WhatsApp groups and on texts and feel very grateful to have had an insight into their days too. A group at church has rallied around and found a replacement for me in a role I am standing down from, making me feel supported and happy in my decision to leave, by sending me emails and texts assuring me all will be well.

Have I still got a long list of things to do tomorrow? Am I still feeling unwell? Yes. But for now, today was a day well lived. Thank God.

Support on the tough days

Everyone has hard days, either at work, or at home. Yesterday I had one of those hard work days. A year or so ago I would have dealt with that with food – cake, chocolate, wine – and hours of Facebook/Instagram scrolling. And allowing myself to get angry inside.

Yesterday I leaned in to my new support systems.

A specific colleague who is great at having perspective and a less emotional reaction to bad days. She does not get into the mess with me, she offers me a way out.

A specific group of friends who I am virtually journeying through the year with in a particular quest to make life a little bit better together. We cheer each other’s successes. We help each other through the bad days, offering a wider perspective that we are not bad people, we are good people who have bad days. We have a wide range of skills and talents and sometimes we do things wrong, but we have what we need to correct the mistakes.

A knowledge that eating well and resting well will ultimately help me. So I spent travel time resting not doing. Not diverting my brain, but letting it process. I did indulge in food-based treats – but just a couple of squares of very dark chocolate. I stuck to the healthy eating otherwise during the day. I didn’t reach for the evening coffee and cake combo that my brain started telling me I needed.

And then my domestic support in the guise of my husband – a support system that has been in place for close on three decades! He shepherded me to a cosy corner of a local pub for a G&T. Not the totally healthy solution, but better than downing half a bottle of wine in the kitchen on a school night. Being out of the house contained the debrief of the day. Once we were home I felt happy, supported and reassured and able to refocus in on all that is good.

My sunrise and sunset check in show one little blip in life. At sunrise I was running along the Thames. The day was good as well as bad. I had plenty to write in the gratitude journal, and my overall reflection on yesterday – a very good day with loads of support and lovely people in it. Couldn’t ask for more.