Recently my husband worked away from home for about a month. Initially I freaked out at the thought of being alone with the children for so long and wondered how this ‘Damsel in Distress’ was going to cope. However, my friends rallied around to ensure I was not lonely and that I retained some sense of sanity and, with their help, I got through it ok. I must admit, it was a very busy few weeks, especially considering the children were on school holidays at the time and I distinctly remember several moments where I wished I could “just put my feet up for a while.”
So, as often happens in my life, the universe delivered: Shortly after my husband returned I managed to misjudge a step outside of the house, roll my ankle and consequently end up unable to walk and destined for a few weeks with my feet up. I obviously need to be a little more concise when I put my wishes out there: I was actually imagining a scene where I was stretched out on a sun-lounger, dressed in my bikini with cocktail in hand – not on the sofa at home with an ice-pack on my ankle and a couple of Nurofen to swallow!
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However, as much as I was not at all happy about my predicament, being forced to rest reinforced for me a few of life’s important lessons:
Life goes on
While I was staring out the window, at the television or mindlessly scrolling through my phone, I came to the realisation that the world was still spinning and life was soldiering on regardless. This was despite the fact that I was not racing around trying to fit 30 hours into a 24 hour day!
My lovely husband had no choice but to take a week off work to organise the children, get meals and generally attend to my every need. Lucky man! He tried his best but of course he didn’t do things exactly like I do: Wet towels were left on the lounge floor; Dirty dishes were often left in that state overnight; Toys became more visible than the carpet beneath them and the outfits my daughter ended up in – don’t get me started! However, he was trying his best and due to his efforts we all got fed, the children got bathed, dressed, taken to school and put to bed and life went on. Therefore, I had to learn how to bite my tongue and let go of the reins. It definitely wasn’t easy but was a valuable lesson for me to learn that things can still get done even when they are not done my way!
Asking for help
After a week off work, my husband really
wanted needed to get back to his regular job. Therefore, as I have no family here, I had to take a deep breath and do something I often struggle with: ask for help! So, with the help of my wonderful friends, I was driven to appointments, my children were looked after and taken to school and everyone pitched in to get me through. My children were also a great help to me and were more than happy to help out with the chores, get themselves dressed and find their own food. This made me realise how independent they can be and how they are much more capable than I gave them credit for. I also learnt that you should not be too proud to ask for help because more often than not, people are very happy to lend a hand.
It’s ok that we’re all different
My husband is not big on talking about emotions, his or anybody else’s. So when I injured myself he was brilliant with his actions – racing to get me ice-packs and painkillers, taking care of the children and cooking us meals. However, he didn’t come and give me a big hug. He didn’t ask how I was feeling or ask how I was coping and he didn’t know how to react when I was upset.
At first, I was a bit peeved about this. His actions were practical and necessary but some of the time all I wanted was to have a cry and be given a hug. However, I realised this would be how I would be acting and he is not me. In fact, he is probably my polar opposite in many respects. So, instead of being cross with him I had to learn to be grateful for his actions and realise that this was his way of telling me he loves me and feeling sorry for me – and they say women are complicated?!
I consider myself to be a positive person who counts her blessings. However having to rely on others as much as I have had to the last few weeks has reinforced just how grateful I am for the people in my life:
– I am extremely grateful for my wonderful friends who have rallied around to keep up my morale and help me out. I am blessed to have found such a great support network in my adopted country.
– I am thankful to have a loving husband who is also a great father to my children and a great support to me (in his own way!)
– I am blessed to have such helpful, caring children.
– I am grateful that the angels were looking out for us the day I fell, as I was carrying my 4-year-old daughter and she survived without a scratch and my injuries could have been worse also.
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Although fracturing my ankle was not a life-changing event, it has still put things in perspective for me. It has made me realise that if I allow myself to slow down a bit I will have more time to enjoy life’s precious moments more fully, be more relaxed, happier and not miss out on what is right in front of me.
Now, that’s one awesome silver lining!