Pushing From Behind (32 Month Update)

July 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Our Recovery Journal

Pushing From Behind - 32 Month UpdateWhen raising kids, one quickly learns that there are no limits on what you are willing to do to keep your sanity.  Children are irrational creatures and dealing with them sometimes requires desperate measures.  Since the beginning of time, creative parents have found unique ways to sooth this irrationality.

The irrational behavior starts early at my house.  No matter how long she sleeps, Charlotte hates the world for the first ten minutes of the morning.  Waking her up is a process that requires several steps.  First comes the back rub, followed by the pick-up and deposit into mommy’s bed.  After 10 minutes of rolling and stretching comes the first conversation.  Finally, she makes one last attempt to disappear by pulling the covers over her head.

Waking up is just the first part of the story of our morning.  The next stop is the changing table, where she suddenly desires to giggle, kick, and squirm.  Her internal clock detects my urgency to get to work.  The closer we are to leaving time, the bigger the challenge of getting her changed and dressed.

On the ride to daycare, she still isn’t quite herself.  She voices her displeasure over the way the seatbelt buckles and location of the radio dial.  The window is another cause of concern… it must be opened “just right” to avoid two-year-old angst.

Upon reaching daycare, I am reminded that she still isn’t quite ready to face the day.  Most times she insists on being carried in with her diaper bag, blanket, and lunch.

But every once in a while she can be convinced to walk in.  If the radio in the car is playing the right music, the weather is perfect, she is happy with the way her window is opened, and nothing else sets her off… sometimes she makes the trek into daycare all by herself.


One Tiny Push

Once she takes those first few steps the rest of the trip becomes all the easier.  I distract her to prevent any second thoughts, and then I massage her ego by telling her that walking in like a big girl makes everyone so proud.

Oh, and one extra thing I do requires no thought at all.  A hand gently placed on her back is a nonverbal cue that she can do it if she just keeps on going.


Pursuing Growth

We are now in the 32nd month of Jessica’s recovery from stroke and TBI.  Her recovery has pitfalls that are surprisingly similar to the challenges of dealing with our kids.  In many cases, the hardest part is not the task itself… it is in getting up and getting started.

In the two months since she broke her hand, doubt has often deterred her from taking those first few steps.  The fear of failure has been an anchor that prevented her from even attempting activities that were near the edge of her competence.

The physical healing has been painfully slow, but her biggest handicap has been the reality of doubt.  In order to accomplish anything, we must first believe that it is possible.  Only then can we pursue our goals with a mindset of success.

In many cases, she just needs a steadying influence.  The safety and security of a literal (or figurative) hand on her back.  Reminder(s) that her existence has purpose and that her action is required to keep things running acceptably.


Jessica at the Table Growing Back into Motherhood

Voices in her ear reminded her that she could do it.  Dishes in her sink and laundry at her feet gave her daily opportunity to make tangible progress on our family’s needs.  Day after day, tasks were placed before her.  Completion of these tasks gave her the confidence to approach them independently.

Now two months later, Jess has taken the next step.  The day-to-day stuff is now automated, and the hand has plenty of opportunities to regain strength and dexterity.  Repeated motions of laundry, dishes, etc. help keep her mind occupied and her hand busy.

Now that she’s taken ownership of several family tasks, Jess’ mindset has transformed from employee to manager.  Not only does she complete tasks in front of her, but now she seeks out opportunities to keep the family moving forward.


Slow and Steady Hand Healing

The hand has healed slowly and steadily.  The unfortunate reality of brain injury is that everything slows down… including recovering from injury or illness.  After four weekly appointments, the x-rays finally showed that the bone has begun repairing itself.

Good living doesn’t mean getting everything you want… it often means doing the best you can with what you’ve got.  The first few weeks of the broken hand were total helplessness.  Since then, we reminded and encouraged Jessica at every possible opportunity.  The first step of any activity is the toughest, for one must make a leap of faith in the face of doubt.  With a proverbial hand pushing her from behind, Jessica has been able to leap more frequently.


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