Sitting, watching Iron Chef during the few sacred minutes I have when both kids are asleep at the same time (it’s truly holy!), my eyes started blurring a bit. Getting kinda wonky and cross eyed, hard to focus. I know what that means. After a month worth of blogging about how great I’m doing with migraine life, here I was, facing the very beginnings of a migraine attack.
Within 20 minutes my fingers started tingling, I started pounding water (lukewarm not cold because I can get it in faster). With the tingling creeping to my hand and traveling up my forearm I decided I had to break my life rule — NEVER wake sleeping babies. Desperate times call for desperate measures and my sleeping three-year-old was in the way of me getting to my supply of magnesium, the one thing that just might hold back the pain.
I popped my head into the bedroom and saw she was awake anyway (halleujah) and raced to my bathroom as a barage of “mommy, what are you doing?” questions followed. I sent the princess downstairs to grab my cell phone. By the time she got back, there was magnesium in my belly and on my calves and I curled up in bed next to her. Turning on Peppa Pig, she laid there, while I rolled over and willed the pain to not come. Tingling continued, through my shoulder, up the side of my neck, to the back of my head and like a slow moving tide, made it’s way up and over my scalp.
I woke, 35 minutes later, to Bubba crying. I’d fallen asleep, and let my daughter have more screen time then I’m typically comfortable with. I felt hung over, like I’d woken up from a bad night of good cocktails, but the tingling never made it to my eyeball. That’s where the pain hits, and where it sits, sometimes for two full days but this time, by the grace of God and Tabby’s patience, I knocked the migraine out before it really started hurting and I couldn’t come back from the pain spiral.
Climbing out of bed to grab little man, I felt heavy, my head and my body felt like I was moving through a slow moving river. We made our way downstairs and I looked over at the Instant Pot I’d set up on the counter, hours ago, ready to make dinner.
With Lukas out of town, I’d planned to cook dinner for our neighbors who have become family. With the pain encroaching in my head, the obvious answer was to cancel. In the past, that’s what I always did… cancel.
This time, before sending the “need to cancel” text, I paused. After writing a month’s worth of migraine posts, focusing on how depression and migraine are so interconnected in my life, I challenged myself. Why cancel?
Well, I don’t want to entertain people while I’m hurting. VA, you know these people require no entertainment.
Well, I don’t want to cook dinner for anyone. VA, you have to cook dinner for you and the kids anyway. It’s the instant pot, it’s easy, there’s no extra effort to have more join.
Well, I don’t want to be in pain around people. VA, you have your two little people you’ll be around anyway. And wouldn’t it be better if Tabby had someone else to talk to instead of her hurting mama?
Well, I don’t want to be a bad version of myself around anyone. VA, these people aren’t just “anyone”. You’re allowed to be yourself with them, even if yourself is fussy and in pain.
I didn’t get too much farther. That’s all I needed to put the phone down and trust that the neighbors I had been investing in were people who I didn’t have to be “the best version of me” around.
They walked into my house an hour later with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. I’d bought the wrong noodles for the recipe and later burnt my Instant Pot Spaghetti (how did that even happen??) and I told them it might be awful, but they gobbled up bowls, anyway. We sat at our dining room table and they talked to the kids (which was a much needed reprieve for my hurting head) and talked to me about stuff that got my mind off the hurting.
At 5:30 I took James upstairs for his bath time and the three ladies (a mother, daughter and granddaughter — how cool is that??) stayed with my girl. Once little man was asleep, I made my way back down the stairs to find my kitchen completely cleaned (cleaner than I ever would have gotten it on a good day!) and Veatra, our resident neighborhood hairstylist, putting “fairy hair” into Tabby’s locks. HOW AMAZING ARE THEY???? Goodness, I love them dearly.
This is why we neighbor. This is why we invite people into our lives who live in physical proximity. It’s not easy, it takes vulnerability and opening ourselves up to exposure, which always means opening up to risk of hurt, awkwardness, and uncomfortable situations. BUT. Y’all…it’s been so worth it.
Yes the clean kitchen was nice, and the camaraderie at dinner, and the hairstyle for Tabs…those things were great. Even better was what the night communicated to the deepest parts of my soul. I am loved, I am cared for, and I am not alone. Even on my worst days, when I may show up as the worst version of myself, I am still chosen by people who’s house is spitting distance from my own. And with that hindsight, it’s pretty crazy to think I almost cancelled.