Doing the Hard Things
Happy New Year (27 days in)! I’m three months in to a full year Facebook fast, so my connection to the online world has been limited at best. Mostly, this time away has been great for my mental health and anxiety. Unfortunately, I’ve also had bronchitis for two of those three months, so I’ve not been in the best of physical health. I’m on the mend though, which is good because I’ve much work to do in Adamsland.
2019 is turning out to be the year of finishing hard things. I took a test for a certification for my day job. I passed the test, but it was difficult; I did not get a perfect score. I got a passing score, and I accept that. Aging is teaching me to accept blessing and not question them.
Tomorrow, I’m going back to the county health department to complete my child’s application for disability considerations. This was the second of three big tasks I set myself up for in January. The third was my tax preparation, which is underway.
Back the the disability thing. When I was still in the hospital after my C-section almost 16 years ago, I was awaken from the briefest of sleep by a social worker holding a clipboard over my bed asking me if I wanted to apply for disability benefits and SSI coverage for my terminally ill child. Maybe it was the Vicodin (but more likely it was a toxic mix of pride and trauma) that I told her I could not imagine we would qualify and sent her on her way, but I didn’t get back to sleep.
Later, when we were home from our son’s first open-heart surgery, the county called me to inquire about disability issues and any support we would need. I wasn’t on Vicodin any longer, so I’ll own up to pride and denial on my abrupt end to that inquiry. More than a year later when our child still couldn’t walk and I had a second baby at home already, I was gleeful when I was able to cancel our home visit by the county to get physical therapy for our son because he finally started walking the day before our scheduled appointment.
I won’t lie and pretend I wasn’t too proud to ask for or receive help. If I’ve anything to regret in my life, it’s that I’ve been making that same prideful mistake over and over and over to my detriment and the tune of more than $100,000 in out of pocket medical costs. I stopped counting after ten years when I had that article published in the New York Times Motherlode Blog. Then I read the comments about what a terrible person I was for complaining about it, for not having an abortion, for being a drain on society, etc. Pro Tip to aspiring writers – never read the comments.
I never wanted to be anything but independent and capable, and for reasons that are deep and personal, historical, and also completely superficial, accepting that kind of assistance was impossible for me, much less asking for it. Well, the tables have turned. My child will be an adult in two years, so I need to do the unpleasant and hard thing of subverting my ego for his wellbeing and take care of this stuff now, so he doesn’t have to initiate it while managing his senior year of high school. It’s amazing how easy it is as a mother to do something for our child that we won’t consider doing for our own benefit. Yet, this is still kind of hard. It’s hard to do it. It’s hard to own my own complicity in my hardships because of my pride. It’s hard to write about it where others will see it because it humbles me, but I need to be humbled. More consequentially, I need to share because I know people like me read my blog, and I want you to know that it’s OK to ask for help. I know it’s OK because it makes things better, and I should have done it sooner.
2019 is the year of doing the hard things. Tomorrow, I cross a second one off my list. Check back in February to see what’s on that list.