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Illness and gratitude

It’s been a strange few days here in the McPeddle household… Last week was really sad, as I said, and I was just starting to climb out of that feeling when illness hit. Ella got chickenpox on Friday and we were on contagious house arrest all weekend, and it was… surprising.

Mainly surprising because I was soooo bummed when I found out. After such a heavy week, I was looking forward to kicking back and relaxing – having a tea party with friends that we’d planned months ago, being out and about, not playing nurse. And that all came crashing down. But once I’d accepted that things weren’t going to go my way, a surprising peace fell over us all. Why? Because we had nothing. to. do.

All weekend! Nothing to do. So we hung out, gardened, made gingerbread (the kids have been asking for it since we read ‘Maisy Makes Gingerbread’), read, played, chilled out. It turns out that what I really needed wasn’t more people time, but some nurturing self-care time. Ella was luckily not grumpy-sick, just spotty, and delighted by the extra Peppa Pig she got to watch while I put cream on her spots, and the chocolate milk she got to drink with her medicine. One of my favourite moments of the weekend was when I decided to lie down and read my book mid-afternoon (imagine! A mid-afternoon lie-down!) and Ella climbed onto my bed with a photo book so she could ‘read’ alongside me. Every few minutes she’d ask me, “Who’s this, Mommy?” or say, “Mommy, look at this!” and I’d roll over and look at her book. Then she’d say, “Go back to your side!” and I’d roll back and carry on reading… So very sweet.

So I was feeling pretty content on Sunday afternoon… Content and exhausted. Like, can’t move my legs properly exhausted. And I still feel like that this morning – I think I’m fighting off some strand of whatever illness Ella has been breathing on me all weekend (we’ve done a lot of cuddling, which results in lots of in-your-face breathing). I watched Brene Brown’s amazing Netflix special last night, and have been reflecting on gratitude and leaning into joy and appreciating the ordinary ever since.

And then I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. And our nanny was very late because she had a clinic appointment she told me about three weeks ago and expected me to remember. And she was highly emotional when she arrived, which made me highly emotional, which was a sucky start to an already off-kilter morning. And it’s an easy hop-step-and-a-jump from off-kilter to feeling sorry for myself, like I get stuck with looking after everyone and nobody cares that I don’t feel well and wah wah wah…

So I’m stopping myself before I go down that miserable path. Because what I keep thinking about is the resilience of those who are actually ill. Either physically or mentally. Those who wake up in the morning, every morning, and feel rubbish. Those for whom it is an effort to get dressed and start the day, who can’t see silver linings, who struggle to feel okay. I had a few days of feeling sad and expected the world to stop and give me a hug. There are thousands of people who feel like that all the time.

So I’m going to take a deep breath, thank my lucky stars for my blessed life, have a cup of tea and be kind to myself – and others. That’s enough for one day.

Published inHealthMom

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