Today is day two of my latest fibromyalgia flare. There seems to be less and less space between one flare to the next. Actually I’d go so far as to suggest that I have had a bad case of brain fog (it usually partners a flare) for at least a month. I am shamed to admit that the other day I couldn’t do a three-year old’s jigsaw puzzle for the life of me. My niece, L was keen for me to ‘participate’. I realised quickly that what she was after was for me to do the puzzle and she would ‘assist’. Hmm. The only problem with her plan was that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. My brain was out to lunch.
Eventually L’s father, who was watching this, came to my rescue. Brothers are so good… when they want to be. Anyway he had the puzzle sorted in a matter of moments and while I quietly swore at brain fog, I was equally glad that L’s teenaged brothers hadn’t arrived home from school yet. They would have loved that Aunty Cate couldn’t do a three-year old’s puzzle. They laugh enough when they have to show me how to use my phone. If it’s not too late I might have to take out a confidentiality contract with L and her Dad.
But back to the flare. I’m used to these. More often than not they spring up unannounced and unwelcome when there is something going on in my head. No wonder I get fog, there’s simply not enough space in my head.
Today has been Mothers Day here, and I admit it is always a difficult day for me. Last year I skipped the issue by being on the other side of the planet. Not so easy this year.
I’m not a mother. Never have been, never will be. Aside from pets and the odd ( not that odd) teddy bear. And don’t think I’m somehow mourning for the mother I am not. I’m not. I am perfectly satisfied with having opted not to have children. Actually I am relieved I saw sense at another time when my brain simply wasn’t working.
What is difficult for me is my own relationship with my mother. Out of respect for her, I’m not going to go into details except to say that we have always had a difficult relationship. We have impacted each other’s lives in ways we probably didn’t intend and possibly regret. At this stage it is something that I don’t expect we can ever resolve for a number of reasons. It just is.
Actually my mother, at 86, relies on me a lot now. A situation I would never have imagined, but then sometimes life has surprises for us along the way. I am the person she most relies on, and just as that’s not easy for me, I don’t imagine for one instance that it is easy for her either. We simply go on from day to day, doing what has to be done. Personally I think that is more important than grand gestures.
But I draw the line at Mothers Day. It’s not the occasion itself but more the hype. As we fill lives and screens with pink sparkly images of perfection… Me? I cringe. Perfection is not always what is real, and it seems to me that we are more able to accept that not every father is perfect than every mother being less than the ideal. The hype, drummed up by marketers usually, ignores what is real.
I don’t in any way want to be critical of any mother, including mine. I simply think we need to be real. Mothers Day for me today meant picking my mother up after her church service, as I always do, and then back to her home for a shared lunch. Mothers Day wasn’t mentioned. If that makes me a cruel, heartless daughter, then so be it.
The cost, of course, for me bas been this latest flare. The rest of the day has been spent in bed in a lot of pain. I hope it will ease tomorrow.
“She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women