We're at the end of week three post-op, and, really, it's going fine. We are grateful for friends who have brought food and for my parents and Big Sissy who were able to come and help for several days. Thanks to these things and to the fact the surgery was timed to happen between my semesters, this recovery has gone smoother than those before it (*knocking on wood*).
Still, recovery is an awful lot of this:
Healing after such a major surgery is painful. Ren can't bend, twist, or lift for at least 6 weeks, and he can only just barely walk. He can't go anywhere, and since he can't bend, twist, lift or walk, he also can't be left home alone for very long.
In other words, we're kind of stuck. Recovering from major spine surgery, especially when it's not the first (and probably won't be the last) can be pretty frustrating. Nothing can speed things up, and we won't really know how "successful" the surgery was for at least a couple of more months. All we can do is wait.
My lack of control over this situation was starting to get me down, so I decided to look for the bright spots. There are, it turns out, a few positives amidst the drudgery. For one thing, we've saved a lot of money this holiday since we haven't traveled, shopped, or really even eaten out. We've also had plenty of down time to just kinda hang out, so the kids are super chill. Chill kids who entertain themselves are always a bonus!
The best unintended consequence to this winter of being stuck, though, is that I am learning how to just be present for my family like never before. Ever since I became a mom, I feel like I have been running at breakneck speed--to finish my PhD, to move, to get therapies for Sky, to land a tenure-track job, to move again (and again and again), to figure out the kids' allergies, to teach and research well, to write this blog, to get Ren the treatments he needs. These past few weeks feel like the first time I've just had to stop. I've spent hours sitting with Ren and the kids. We've talked. We've watched movies. We've played board games. We've painted pictures. We've done nothing. It's been incredibly frustrating at times, but this new pace makes me realize just how hectic my normal pace really is. I'm starting to realize that learning how to "be" is a pretty important lesson for me and that maybe being stuck isn't such a bad thing after all.