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When My Chronic Pain Prevents Me From Being Present With My Children

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My daughter is a die hard “Dance Moms” fan.

She recently came to me and said, “So mom, wanna watch ‘Dance Moms’?” When I looked at her and said, “Not right now, love. I don’t feel well,” I saw my beautiful, smiling child deflate and a shadow fall over her. In that moment, I hated my body and the chronic pain that affects me!

I have five children ranging in ages from 29 to 14 and I have always been an active, engaged and present parent. That is, until two years ago when I was in a vicious three car pileup on the expressway with my car being the middle one. (I was hit from behind and then I hit the car in front of me.) The aftermath of that, coupled with degenerative disc disease, has practically stopped me in my tracks. Having to use a walker doesn’t help either. The love I have for my children is indescribable, and since my husband passed away in 2016, I have made an extra effort to be present.

But sometimes I can’t. But I want to.

So I sat my two remaining children at home and down and explained it to them. And I asked them what’s better: Me saying I can’t right now with the understanding that I want to, and as soon as I’m able we will – or me agreeing and being present physically, but checked out mentally?

Because I have been upfront about my conditions they are able to make intelligent and empathetic decisions while being reassured that mommy really wants to, but sometimes my body has other ideas.

We agreed on rain checks. I will when I can, and if it’s absolutely necessary, I’ll push myself. But they understand…And that has made all the difference.

Getty Image by monkeybusinessimages

Originally published: May 22, 2018
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