I had minor surgery on Tuesday and have been lying on the couch watching old movies and drinking tea for four days. You'd think I'd be in heaven. What mom wouldn't love to spend four days lounging on the couch while other people do the laundry, the dishes, the housework, the childcare, the shopping and the bills? Unfortunately, I suck at relaxing.
I can't do it. Lying here, I think about the thousands of things that need to be done, like homework and editing and refilling the hummingbird feeder. I worry that Queen Teen is feeling stressed out by my incapacity and I feel guilty because my husband is having to do everything. He races from room to room, helping Queen Teen, doing the housework, answering the phone, running to the pharmacy, while trying to work on computers. My mom came one day to help, my friend Jane came the next. My sister-in-law stopped by with a Starbucks latte and some scrap booking magazines. All of these people came to help and support me while I recover.
I hate it.
I am the one who takes care of people. The one who waits on people. Not the other way around. So getting all of this attention is disturbing. Which forces me to ask: do I really think I don't deserve the help?
Why can't I allow myself to relax, say thank you when help is offered, let go of any guilt at watching the Thin Man in the middle of the afternoon, and stop worrying that Queen Teen will be damaged by my four days on the couch? Are all moms like this, or just me?
My family is struggling, but managing. Queen Teen has done a good job taking care of herself and my husband has dealt with all the extra responsibility without entirely losing his mind (mostly). They aren't the happiest people in the world though, and I see clearly how my energy keeps this family and our home running smoothly. But no one has died from my incapacity, not even the fish.
Perhaps I just need more practice letting go and relaxing. Although next time, I'll go on vacation and skip surgery.