Let It Be
I remember those very early days when the fear of the future would slice through me like razor sharp knife. It was a balancing act between feeling hopeful and positive and being completely washed away with terror of the “what-if’s” of the next twenty years.
I recently joined a private group on Facebook for parents of children who ended up to some degree or another like Meredith. I read the posts of the mothers and fathers who are just months even weeks into this adventure and I can be transported back to those early days in the time it takes to inhale. I can feel my heart tighten a little as I read their pleas for help and their descriptions of what their child is able to do (or not do) and what that could mean? Is it possible that they will be able to crawl, walk and maybe be okay in the end? I can feel their fear laced in with their carefully chosen words not wanting to unintentionally insult those of us who ended up with the children that they fear their baby may become.
Meredith spent the first ten weeks of her life in a children’s hospital and before sending us home for good, we got to have a weekend pass. It was a trial of sorts to see how we managed for two nights and two days on our own with the safety net of the hospital waiting for our return Monday morning. This must be what it is like for people to get a day pass from jail. That first night was nothing short of a nightmare and by morning I was calling my mom in tears to come and save us. She arrived with my younger sister in tow to spend the rest of the weekend helping us figure out how we were going to manage the enormous caregiving tasks that were involved with parenting Meredith. At some point during the weekend, I found myself lying on our bed in tears about how we were going to do this. I mean the first weekend at home had been a disaster and we had to figure out how we were going to proceed for the next 20+ years. I was paralyzed with fear and sheer panic. My sister lay beside me on the bed feeling empathetic yet helpless. I remember her wondering aloud what we would do when she reached puberty and what would we do when she got her first period. I recall that moment in time so vividly because it was in that very moment that I made a conscious decision to do everything in my power to stay in the present moment. I remember taking a deep breath and reassuring myself that in this precise moment, all was well…..well, sort of but the bottom line was Meredith was only ten weeks old and there would be plenty of time to worry about puberty. We would deal with everything that would come our way as it happened and I was not going to waste my valuable energy on worrying about what was inevitable but had not yet unfolded.
This way of thinking has kept unnecessary anxiety at bay over the years. Meredith started showing signs of early puberty by the time she was 8 years old; a common side effect of her type of brain injury. As she gets older, we are seeing more signs and it is okay. It isn’t anywhere near as terrifying as I thought it would be back when I lay on my bed literally shaking with fear of the future. As with every single event and unexpected experience that has come to us over the last decade, we have somehow managed to live through it. I have chosen to spend less time worrying about what may come so that I can spend the majority of my time enjoying what is. This present moment is our reality. The future is going to unfold no matter how much I worry about it or attempt to control it. It is easier to just let it be. The future can take care of itself.