The worst day for me after my surgery came when I went for my check-up a week later and the doctor gave me a clean bill of health. My blood count was up a bit. My incisions were healing nicely and he said the dreaded words, “You can resume normal activities as you feel able.”
This sounds like good news, but to me it was horrible because it turned on my guilt faucet. When I was on bedrest, I couldn’t move. I just couldn’t. Doctor’s orders. But as soon as he said I could listen to my body and decide, I found myself feeling guilty for not being 100%. I was still dizzy when I stood up. My incisions were still painful when I sat upright for more than a few minutes at a time and even walking for short distances left me weak and out of breath.
But I felt bad because I wasn’t up and doing everything. It’s amazing how hard we are on ourselves, right? The heck?!
I told myself it was fine, to listen to my body and take it easy, but it was a real struggle.
Hello. My name is Kathryn. And I have a hard time being nice to myself consistently without conscious effort. I’ve gotten better over the years, especially the last few, but it’s still a struggle and I still have to be mindful about it.
So it turned out we needed groceries (re: kids eat food all the days) but I was worried about walking around the grocery store. I’d had several friends offer to pick things up for me at the store, but I thought of a better idea.
The kids could do it!
Isn’t that a good solution to most problems in life?
Newly free of the narcotics, I drove the kids to the store. We had a pep-talk where I told them about looking for brands and sizes with the best price. I took them down the cereal aisle and showed them how to look at the price per ounce and see if a bigger box might be a better value even if the price tag was bigger.
I refreshed their memory on how to pick produce.
I told them that vacation as coming so the budget was tight and I asked them to stick to the list unless they saw something they thought we actually needed for a good price. If that happened, they were to come and ask me.
On the list, I indicated that they could choose one treat that they all agreed on.
If they got along and showed good grocery manners, they could have a free bakery cookie at the end.
Then I planted myself in a reclined position in one of the comfy chairs in the pharmacy waiting room and read a great western novel for book club.
My 13, 11, and 6-year-old navigated the grocery store beautifully and had a great time doing it.
They came and found me with questions like, “You wrote down red bell peppers but the green ones are so much cheaper. Is there a reason you really need red?” and “We want to get a box of Cheez-Its for our treat but there’s a deal where they are way cheaper if you buy three boxes. Can we please buy three?”
They made hard choices and proudly told me about how they refused to buy the salad dressing brand I specified because it was way too expensive and there was a store-brand alternative that looked just as good.
Seeing the pride on their faces, even though one of them wouldn’t admit she’d had a good time, I wondered why I hadn’t done something like this before.
And when we got to the long lines at the end, I asked the kids to pay for the groceries. They balked. Using my credit card was taking things a bit too far for them. I told them I could really use their help and asked them to try it because I didn’t think I could stand up in line that long.
Then a sweet lady overheard us and asked if we would like to take our massive load of groceries and cut in front of her in line. Drops of Awesome for kind strangers. I meet them all time!