Don’t call us, we’ll call you

February 10, 2012

Acceptance

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , , , , — llcall @ 8:41 pm

This is a follow-up to the “Stages” post from earlier today, so read that first for context.

I well remember a conversation I had with my buddy Matt at least 7 or 8 years ago.  Although I can’t recall all the details, I was debating whether to use my wheelchair at a certain event.

[A short history of my wheelchair: from 1999-2000, I used it often (often enough that I even named it Wapiti, though I have a vague memory of having spelled it Wahpidi); from 2001-2003, I used it regularly for getting around BYU campus and bigger events; from 2003 on, I used it only for museums, sporting events, airports, and amusement parks since they require more walking than I can handle at one time.]

Back to the conversation:  I didn’t really want to use my wheelchair for this particular event because, honestly, it was always awkward.  I cannot even explain how much people stared at me. (Someone once told me, “Oh, you probably just think people are staring at you.”  Then they pushed me through an airport and said, “People really are staring at you!”)  Nobody expects to see a healthy-looking teenager (I looked like a teenager well into my 20s) in a wheelchair, so I got lots of double-takes and stares, as well as the occasional comment about how I didn’t look like I should be in a wheelchair.  Ummm . . . thanks?  My favorite wheelchair-pusher was my girl Rachel because she and her long blond locks were so eye-catching that people tended to ignore me.

Anyway . . . back to my conversation with Matt.  After explaining all my reasons for not wanting to use my wheelchair, Matt said something absolutely searing: “Maybe you should just accept what your life is.”  Not searing in a bad way.  More like searing in the way that this statement will forever come up at the most (in)opportune times, precisely when I’m struggling to accept what my life is.

Writing that post on bargaining was cathartic in a way that even I did not expect.  It was part of the process of accepting what my life is.  There’s been no denial or anger or depression.  And I have stopped bargaining altogether.  Perhaps most surprisingly, I have only wept once or twice over it.  I leave open the possibility that the stages will reoccur (after all, there’s still some pain there), but I also wonder if maybe that’s it.  Maybe I’ve made my peace with this miraculous one-child life I’ve been given.  I hoped it would be something else, but it isn’t, and I’m accepting that.

I am not quite sure I recognized what an accepting place I was in until this last week when no fewer than three good friends announced their pregnancies.  Not that I wouldn’t have been happy for them before, because I don’t believe I have treated happiness (or childbearing) as a zero-sum game in which someone else’s good fortune decreases my own.  But still, I was quite overjoyed.  I could picture seeing their babies and holding them and not inwardly sorrowing that they weren’t my babies.  I felt grateful for what their lives are — because they will also make my life richer.  There was a bit less joy with every pregnancy announcement over that year of bargaining.

The other unforeseen benefit is the heightened enjoyment I feel over Addison.  I have not automatically become that mom who enjoys every minute (in fact, I’m pretty sure when I handed her off to Neal on Saturday night I said, “Hurry! I cannot be whined at for one more second”), but every developmental stage, every new skill or word feels that much more poignant because they likely won’t come this way again.  I’m glad this acceptance came now so that I don’t squander the next year worrying about what I don’t have.  I can’t help but feel this acceptance is a miracle in its own way.  I so desperately wanted the miracle to be one more baby, but peace, happiness, and minimal self-pity is pretty darn miraculous too.

Maybe you should just accept what your life is, words to live by.

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4 Comments »

  1. i just love your blog. you are so talented. these past two posts have been especially remarkable. thank you for sharing them!

    Comment by stephanie — February 10, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  2. In response to the last line, that’s what I’m trying to do. And it’s so hard. So my hat is off to you.

    Comment by v. blanchard — February 10, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  3. I never have very good comments for your blog posts….just love feeling like I just talked to you after I read what you’re thinking. Love you, sister.

    Comment by Rach — February 10, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  4. Wow! Thank you. Thank you for the wisdom you share and the strength that others can learn from. You handle life’s curve balls so well. I am so glad to have you as a friend! I wish I had taken advantage of having you so near by before. You are such an amazing woman.

    I also wanted to thank you for your comments after my grandfather passed away. I think we did go through a very similar experience. AND thank you for all the wonderful items you gave me for our Juliette. They were darling on her!

    Love,
    Shan

    Comment by Shannie — February 10, 2012 @ 11:20 pm


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