It was still dark outside, not even a hint of pink above the red hills around my home – my favorite time of day, when everything is still and quiet.
The silence was ruined when headlights slammed into me…
Headlights slammed into me, and I was on the pavement trying to remember how to breathe.
My first two coherent thoughts were, “Crap I lost my teeth.” and “I’m so grateful my Mom and Dad live close by.” I knew that my parents would take care of my kids and my husband would take care of everything else.
I’m always surprised by my reaction in a real life emergency. My teeth and my kids – the top priorities.
The first day was spent in crisis mode. It was after I was stable, that I realized I was no longer myself. I couldn’t DO any of the things that made me – me.
It was Halloween, and I was in the hospital, while my kids trick-or-treated. I hadn’t helped them get ready or been at the parade.
I couldn’t take care of my family or myself. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t run. Even hugs were hard.
My youngest, who used to take “a cuddle nap” with me almost every day, said, “I’m a little bit scared of you with all the pokies on your face.” He wouldn’t let me hold him.
I have four active children that I could no longer play with – that didn’t need me to take care of them. Others, who I am forever grateful for, were doing a great job in that role.
This led to a mini-identity crisis. Who am I if I can’t _______. The word in the blank depended on the minute.
In those first several weeks I made a lot of lists. Christmas lists, house repair lists, book lists. I made the lists and the lists stared back at me.
And I realized…
I’d been measuring my life in tasks.
The to do lists gave direction, meaning, to my days.
In theory having time off from the monotonous tasks of housekeeping and motherhood is great. I’d known for awhile that I couldn’t do everything, no matter how I arranged my priorities. Back then, I had narrowed my priorities to one: connection. That, I could still do.
I began to look at the “why” behind the to dos.
Why was it important to me to play with my kids?
Why did I want to pack lunches?
Why did I want to keep our house clean and make their favorite cookies?
Why did I want to be awake enough to….?
The answers were not surprising:
To love them
To provide a safe place
To make my children feel seen and heard
I could figure out other ways to DO those things. Ways that didn’t involve being physically active.
Motherhood isn’t about what you do as much as how you make your kids feel and what you ARE for them.
And now, when I find myself frustrated, useless, or inadequate, I always look for the WHY behind the task.
Nicole loves reading, writing, and traveling anywhere. She is happy going across the world or taking a ten minute walk if there is something new to explore. She has lived most of her life in warm sunny places: Saudi Arabia, Arizona, California, and now Southern Utah, and hopes that never changes. She lives with her business owner/surfer husband Justin, four kids, and no pets, hopefully ever… not even a fish.
Nicole helps refugees tell their stories for Their Story is Our Story @tsosrefugees. You can also find her on instagram @nicolesuetaylor and on her sporadically updated blog realliferealjoy.com.
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