It’s the Hard Knock Life

I always thought the song was called, “It’s a Hard Knock Life.” Google it. I promise–it’s “the”–not “a.”

And, now, just so you can sing along with me:

On a more serious note, I have been in the midst of trauma and turmoil for the last couple of months. While I won’t go into details (we all have our sad, dark, difficult moments), I would like to share with you a small bit of wisdom I have learned.

Life is hard.

Sometimes it’s harder than hard. And sometimes it just plain sucks.

Wait–let me backtrack a bit. I was a teenager once. Were you? Did we know each other? Maybe you will remember as I do that I wasn’t the happiest person. My favorite shirt had Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) on the front–you know, the character that is associated with lines like, “Tut, tut. Looks like rain”–that was me.


photo credit

I loved the rain. (Isn’t it romantic, and sad?) I loved nothing more than to turn on “Pictures of You” by The Cure or “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. and watch the rain fall.

Then, I grew up a little, got a little less teen angsty, and decided that life was better in the sunshine. I worked hours on retraining the default settings of my brain to reflect on positive aspects of life. I began to count blessings instead of troubles. And I chose happiness.

(That’s probably the hardest part right now. Happiness evades me daily. I want it back, and I’m trying each moment of each day to choose it–but I get tired of walking down the staircase and reliving my baby’s fall, my legs shaking so much on the ambulance drive with him, thinking of myself in the front seat pleading with the driver to tell me about himself as a distraction from my little guy lying on a backboard while three EMTs tended to him, the sleepless days and nights in ICU that followed, and the fear of coming home and seeing it all happen again.)

Trauma is real. And I pray, but it’s still there. I read and study, but the pain aches in my chest, my head, my heart. I smile, and every once in a while, the smile feels sincere.

And even though we’ve had so many gifts and blessings (and he is healing), I pull my knees to my chest and cry–more often than I did as a fifteen-year-old.

And I am grateful. And I am smiling, softly, not with my lips but with my eyes, thinking of each of you–your friendship, support, and love.

And someday, when I tell myself that “everything will be okay,” the phrase will stop feeling like a lie. And everything will be okay (even though life will still be hard).

At least I’m learning, right?

An adventure was going to happen…

I used to have a Classic Winnie the Pooh stamp that had the phrase on it, “An adventure was going to happen…” (which I often read and puzzled over in my youthful mind). The drawing under the words captured a moment with Christopher Robin holding the hand of Winnie the Pooh as they headed off into some unknown direction, facing new sights, smells, sounds, (and most likely some honey at some point for Pooh Bear’s rumbly tummy).

On the other side of over a decade of marriage, several children, heart leaps and heartaches, I have found that to be my experience almost every day of every year (minus the honey, of course).

I used to (and still work hare at overcoming this tendency…especially on tired days) be quite negative. I used to be more like Eeyore, noticing the little black rain cloud that stood just over my head (but no one else’s). I claimed that cloud in the name of realism and carefully placed my personal flag within the grey puffs of condensation and brewing storms, like Neil Armstrong posting red, white, and blue stars and stripes on craters of a heavenly sphere in 1969. While I was under my little cloud, I could find all the sad, despairing circumstances in which I lived each day.


photo credit

But I wasn’t happy.

And I wanted desperately to be happy.

So I changed.

I changed from Eeyore to Winnie the Pooh…a little less steeped in “reality” and a little more optimistic. I’m trying to look at each day as an adventure. I’m learning that blessings come in small and large packages, and one of the most amazing blessings of all is the gift of friendship. I’m finding quiet and loud moments of joy.

And I am happy.
🙂


photo credit