Sunday started off with the topic of smoking … again. It continued off and on all morning. Finally, when we were with the children waiting for an elevator, I said in a worn-out sarcastic voice while looking at the children, “I will give you a cigarette to smoke after you watched both our children smoke one each first.”
The children quickly jump on this cue. Like most siblings, they are very good at talking at the same time. It is usually very annoying but this moment was special. “Yeah Daddy that’s a good idea because you’ll never get me to smoke!” Their opinions chimed in perfect unison.
That ended this discussion ... for a while.
This weekend you seem to be obsessing on the smoking theme and the ‘what if’s’. This is different from the ‘I don’t deserve to live’ and the ‘I don’t want to be a burden’ obsessions you have had in the past.
Today, you play the ‘what if’ game’ to extremes and it consumes a lot of your emotional energy. The talk is different but it is a welcome change. Oddly, it helped me realize that these negative thoughts are of a different flavour and that your negative thoughts are temporary … they flow into your mind and eventually they flow out … like a wave.
A wave, coming ashore after a storm, has lots of strength and momentum. As it rolls up the shore it loses sped and strength. Finally it recedes only to be replaced by another wave. In your case the waves are worries, dark thoughts and fears. Your waves can come ashore a gentle sandy beach and leave safe water to navigate or it can come to a rocky cliff and crush against the rocks creating a dangerous situation. The destruction of the wave depends on the shoreline.
You are the ocean after a storm and I am the land. Your waves erode my shoreline. I can let you erode my shoreline gently or dangerously. I can not let your cycles of dark thoughts get into my head or I can’t be strong for you and the children. This epiphany has recharged my determination to help you through this. Sometimes, living so close to your dark thoughts swallows me up but with this mindset immunizes me against the contiguousness of your talk.
I have to remember that this is part of your recovery and if I can just ride the waves out – your storm will pass and your thinking will evolve.
Before we left on Friday, I checked the email. A email from Lynn was waiting. She had taken up running recently and the Cobequid 10 km was one of the first races she did. Now she is in a running group that is organized with instructors. This week she has ‘homework’. She has to think about something that inspires her while doing hill training. She wrote about you and your struggle to survive this stroke. I read to you her email and you are touched. You weep.
You want to walk the some of the Cobequid 10 k this year or maybe next year. You may be able to walk some or all of it…after that … who knows. “I had to be patient throughout this ordeal… I’m not terribly good at it.” You certainly have had lots of practice with patience and a lot more to do in the future. The patience and your pre-existing determination will be an asset later.
For our entertainment this afternoon, Quinn does a juggling show with balls and devil sticks while Tara plays ‘The Entertainer’ on the organ. Then Tara performs a dance for us. At the end of their shows, you picked up a devil stick and started to flip it end over end. I told you about the day when you did the same trick while you were at the QE2. You were still rather dazed, at the time, when you stared to flip the stick. End for end. Quinn and Tara were delighted with this display of talent. You don’t remember this at all. This was weeks before you could talk. This was a very pivotal moment for them. This was the moment that they knew that their Daddy was still inside.
Today, you decided to one-up yourself. You got Quinn to give you two of his juggling balls and proceeded to juggle the two balls with your right hand while the three of us cheer you on.
The children and I play a game of ‘find Daddy’s blind spot’. We started with you looking straight ahead at Quinn who was directly in front of you. Then Tara would walk along your side to the left and to the right from behind you.
There was a considerable difference. There is definitely at least 30 degrees of your field of vision is lost. Now that the children know where your blind spot is, there could be some sneakiness going on. Oddly, that thought comforts me, because I am confident that if the children try to take advantage of your blind spot, they only be able to do it once because after that you will be highly motivated in the future to compensate for it. I think if it works … we should call it the ‘Sneaky Kid Therapy’.
Tonight you start again on the cigarette wave again. You want me to get you some. I decide to change my tactic so I share with you my theory of why you chose to tell me that you smoked.
It is a simple theory. You told me because you felt you might need my help. You felt that there might be a day that you would have a hard time resisting the urge. You told me because, subconsciously, you wanted my help during these times. You wanted me to be your keeper and help your resist then urge. You keep asking me for cigarettes because you don’t want to fail. You could go out and find a way to sneak a cigarette behind my back, but you haven’t. You haven’t because you have the will power most of the time and when you don’t … I do. We are a team.
The ‘Good night’ cuddle with the children almost had a Christmas Eve feel to it. “Tomorrow, we will get to see Daddy walk and do stairs for real!” They had seen a video that I made but it doesn’t seem as real as seeing you in person. Quinn and Tara are both all smiles with the thought of tomorrow as they drift off to sleep.