Thursday, May 5, 2011

Underwater


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These past three weeks have felt like an underwater blur. A while back I posted about the terrible inconvenience of a nine day viral flu. Now twelve more days have passed and the flu, which turned out to be mono, has become my new normal. My clothes are my pajamas. "Getting ready" in the morning means pulling on slippers and a robe whenever I muster up the courage to get out of bed, and fixing dinner means opening the door and accepting meals from friends and neighbors who are taking time out of their own chaos to help our family. Every time I close the door it is with a lump in my throat.

Several friends have expressed surprised that I'm still writing and posting on my blog with all the mono fun that is happening in my life right now. Continuing to write is a type of gravity, I think, keeping my slippers nailed to the floor. If I have to be lying down all the time, if I'm too sick to get dressed or feed my girls, then what is leftover is time to stare at the ceiling and think. It's sort of like knitting. I can lie here and knit myself into one long, useless strand, or I can divide my thoughts into organized little clusters. Assigning them a name, and restoring order to my internal universe. Every other part of my life represents chores, duties and laundry piles that I'm not well enough to attend to, but if I am awake I can write. And it makes me feel better, even if only for a few minutes.

The underwater sensation is fed by the dramatic slowing down of our family's pace. There are hours of stillness that wouldn't normally happen in the middle of a weekday. Right now the girls are dancing around the house playing with their dolls, but their sing song voices and happy movements echo through the house like rustling leaves. Suddenly it becomes clear that their noise becomes frenetic only when pitted against my chaos. When you're trying to return phone calls, cook dinner, and check homework, the noise of little girls tearing through the house becomes pandemonium. But by itself their playtime sounds peaceful.

Each night my girls climb up onto my bed and I read to them, sometimes for nearly an hour. In "real" life this is an evening task that is sandwiched between dinner dishes and everything else that I plan to get done before bed. Now it is the only thing I have to do, and conveniently I'm already in bed. I've never felt so relaxed when reading to them before.

Only a few days ago I posted about the thrills of being a stress addict. But as the days drag on I feel increasingly far away from that lifestyle. I can't help but wonder if I needed a month in bed to force me to see another kind of life that isn't dictated by self-imposed deadlines?  I told Jeremy last night that I can't remember how it feels to scurry around doing things. I can't remember feeling charged with the adrenaline of a full day and a blank sheet of paper in front of me, waiting to be filled. I miss that.

Eventually the old normal will return, and my mono days will feel like one long blur of mind-numbing movies and gatorade. But while I'm still underwater I'm trying to savor the slowness of it all. The slow passing of days. The slow reading of books to my girls. The slow typing of blog entries that I've had hours and hours to think about. There will probably be many crazy days ahead that are so full of life that I'll almost wish I could get back in bed and be sick again. I'm counting on it.

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