Admission: I have spent a good portion of my adult life, especially the years since I’ve become a mother, feeling like so much of my daily life is tedious. Like nothing happens fast enough… like I don’t have time for the details… the tedious details of my daily life drive me crazy the vast majority of the time.
Today, I feel like, for the first time, I truly know the meaning of the word tedious. Lying in a hospital bed for 10 days, attached to oxygen, waiting for two lungs (that you took for granted for 33 years!) to heal and breathe fully on their own? That’s tedious.
And, ironically, throughout that whole tedious process, I feel like I’ve learned to appreciate more the things that I would have classified as tedious 10 days ago…
A few days ago, Avery was visiting me in the hospital and I noticed that her pierced ears were looking red and irritated. So I spent a good half hour tediously opening a hundred little alcohol swab packets (that Nurse Trisha was kind enough to give us) and cleaning my daughter’s earlobes. And I enjoyed every tedious second of that. I had nothing better to do… nowhere else to be… no greater cause at that moment. I was simply a mother taking care of her baby in a very basic, tedious way. And it was wonderful.
Several days into my hospital stay I asked my mom to dig through my closet at home and find an old bag of cross-stitch that I’ve had stashed away for years. There can’t possibly be anything more tedious than CROSS-STITCHING! And that’s one reason I’d given it up over the years (since becoming a mother)… making all of those darn Xs all over the place… and starting new threads and tying them off in the back… geeez, who has THAT kind of time/patience?!?! Well, I did this week… and I spent one entire night in the hospital (before they moved my IV to an inconvenient spot on my arm!) cross-stitching and loving every blessed second of it… even the most tedious parts.
Even something as simple as enjoying a healthy lunch. I enjoyed every morsel of food I ate in the hospital… once I was well enough to regain my appetite. I took the time to butter my bread… to add salt and pepper for flavor… even to cut my cucumbers and tomatoes into bite-size, enjoyable pieces. Imagine that! But these are things that I don’t DO normally… tedious, tedious, tedious.
I can remember experiencing the strangest phenomenon when I came home from the hospital right after having Damon many years ago… I assumed it was some kind of “New Mom Euphoria” or something. My head just felt CLEAR… really clear… for the first time in a long time. And I felt like I had a new, greater understanding of what was important in life… not bills or money (or lack thereof) or meeting work deadlines, but this new person that I’d just given birth to… and just BEING and enjoying life. I remember that euphoria… and I also remember that it didn’t last long. Life came crashing back into me mere days later… and that’s probably when things started feeling tedious again and I started wishing away so many precious moments.
I feel like the past 10 days have been a strange kind of gift… a wake-up call of some kind. I spent many days in the hospital making mental notes/lists, coming up with plans for ways to alter my daily life to get more OUT of my daily life. For months (maybe even years), I’ve felt that my life is out of control on so many levels… like I needed to make changes, but where does one start exactly when the day-to-day just keeps happening??
Ten days ago, someone threw the brakes on my life for me. I feel like someone said, “Okay, Erin, here’s your chance… it’s all come to a screeching halt… now regroup and get back on your feet and make the most of every tedious moment to come.” Believe me, I’m going to try and do just that.