I’ve been off bed rest for a couple of weeks now, and the one thing that has struck me is that:
1) Bed rest sucks. It’s not restful, it’s stressful.
2) It really makes you appreciate the little things that you usually take for granted, or even complain about.
Ok, so that was two things. Forgive me, apparently my brain is still “resting.”
One of the hardest things about bed rest was not being able to do the little, every day things that I usually do, like taking my daughter to school, going grocery shopping, making dinner, and simply cleaning up the house. Yes, I missed doing those little, annoying “chores” that I usually complain about. I guess, really, I missed being busy and feeling efficient about getting those things done. Once you took away my ability to do almost everything but lie in bed and watch TV, I discovered how many “little” things I accomplish every day. Most importantly, I discovered the simple pride I feel in making sure our household runs smoothly. Coming from someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy, nor is very good at, cooking, cleaning and other domestic duties, I never would have guessed the pride I feel in accomplishing these simple tasks. Hell, I have sign in my kitchen that proclaims, “The Queen Does Not Cook” if that tells you much about my domesticity.
Of course, the thing I missed most was spending quality time with my daughter. Most of the days that I was on bed rest, I shipped her off to daycare. And, home alone by myself, the house felt eerily calm and quiet. I truly missed her noise, her commotion, her unstoppable energy. I missed carrying her around on my hip, chasing her in the grass, and playing with her on the playground. I missed her mess. I even missed her temper tantrums. (I think I must have been hallucinating out of boredom). Yes, I missed all the things that usually wear on me after a few hours in her presence. I missed the things that usually cause me to daydream about spending a day in bed, watching TV. Instead, I laid in bed, daydreaming about her mischievous smile.
And then, after a short time in the scheme of things, I was off bed rest. I had to take it easy, of course, but I no longer was confined to a horizontal position.
The first day off bed rest, I looked at all of these daily “chores” in a whole new light. Even though I had to take things slowly (and still do) I was thrilled to just get out of bed, make coffee and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. I was happy to walk around the house and tidy up, take a nice long shower without rushing to get back to bed, and to finally go grocery shopping.
In the mornings, my husband and I usually take turns on waking up with my daughter and feeding her breakfast, while the other gets to sleep in a bit a later. Normally, I look forward to my mornings “off” and that extra bit of sleep in the AM. But the first day off of bed rest, I sprang up (gently) at the first sound she made, and the smile on her face when I came into her room to pick her up was pure magic. We read a couple of books and then chatted over frozen waffles. It was heaven. There’s no way that an extra hour of sleep could compete with that. When I picked her up out of bed and carried her into the kitchen, for the first time in a few weeks, she smiled and hugged me tightly and said, “Mommy can carry me? Mommy not sick?!” Tears ran down my face as I squeezed her, maybe a little too hard, and said, “No honey. Mommy is not sick.”
But, much like the appreciation one has for one’s health after being sick for a few days, slowly my appreciation for the simple tasks of life has already started to slip away. I already find myself wishing for five more minutes of sleep, fretting over what to cook for dinner, and groaning about the dirty laundry that needs to be washed and the floors that need to be swept. My daily tasks are starting to become chores again.
My hope is that I can hold on to a little piece of the love for everyday life that I felt when I first came off of bed rest. I hope I can always feel a rush of pleasure at waking up with my daughter in the morning, walking her home from school while chatting about her day, or lifting her up to put her the on monkey bars. I hope that I can remember to feel pride in keeping my household running seamlessly – ok, well maybe not “seamlessly”, but at least keeping it sputtering along. I hope that I can continue to remind myself that the little things really are the big things in life. And most of all, I hope that I can remember this every day, not simply when it has been taken away from me.