One of the things I miss the most about my sons not living nearby are the hugs that a mom likes to give to her children every day. It is amazing how important touch is to the feelings of love, security, contentment, etc. that we all crave. And for a mother, those hugs are given and received from the moment of birth and so I naturally enjoy when my sons are home and I can hug them often! If you have your children near you, hug them often and with joy and abandon! I am lucky to have a spouse and a brother who are also huggers and I treasure their hugs too.
So, relative to our RA there is much to learn from Thanksgiving. One tough lesson for me is around how much I do with regard to the cooking and other chores associated with the day itself. I was feeling pretty good this year and despite the fact that my brother insisted on cooking literally every meal (the man is a saint) I thought I would at least do the side dishes....well here is what I have figured out (DUH!).
When I am feeling good, I assume that nothing will change so I go ahead and do things that I know from past experience will likely lead to joint discomfort. Why? Well, think about your life prior to RA. If you knee was not hurting you would not hesitate to run if you wanted. If your hands were strong and feeling fine you would go right ahead and knit if you chose to. But - if your knees hurt you would stop running and if your hands hurt you would surely not take up knitting. Well, so it is with RA...with a big difference...we have to ANTICIPATE the pain and discomfort. Our hands may start out just fine....but after stirring or chopping food those same hands have now become swollen and painful. I find it very difficult to sit by with hands that AT THAT MOMENT feel fine while other do the tasks that I used to be able to do without thinking. So it was this year....as I write this I have my compression gloves on thanks to once again (Dear God when will I learn?) doing more than I should have. I really am not sure that will ever change. I honestly believe that I will probably push the envelope till the end of my time on earth because I just cannot sit around and let others do everything for me...just is not in my make-up. I try to do it...God knows I try...and I have given up doing cooking at home for the most part...but the guilt over doing so is still there no matter how much I joke that I love not cooking. I hear about friends who cook wonderful meals for their family and friends and I feel that I should do it too...but then reality sets in and I step back...usually. When I don't I pay the price....a very high price filled with pain and discomfort.
I can clearly recall times when I chose not to ride that bike or take that walk when I physically could have with no problem and that at times haunts me to this day. What I would give to have some of those times back. But I am not a person the looks to the past with regret. Rather I like to look to the future having learned from the past and with an eye to finding joy in each moment I am here and with my loved ones. And so it is with a grateful heart that I have to thank RA just a bit for making me so keenly aware of how precious each day is.
Remember to reflect during this season of gratitude and kindness on the joy of being.