Next week is our long anticipated vacation. I mentioned earlier that I was not looking forward to the trip--but that was not entirely true. I am always looking forward to any trip; especially after a year not going anywhere. The truth is that I did not want to allow myself to look forward to it because after a trauma it is hard to trust that good things will happen--heck it is hard to trust that anything planned will happen.
That's just the damage trauma does. Unplanned events that smack you over the head can feel like the rule not the exception. And sometimes I am in the head of space of being able to play the "chances are game." You know, like telling yourself "Chances are nothing else bad can happen because it already did." But I can tell you, and I am sorry to burst your bubble, that "chances are" is a lie. There is no rhyme or reason or great balance to anything in this world. There are no odds on anything.
This truth does not release me from the Chances Are game, instead, it sucks me in deeper and I begin thinking "Chances are something terrible will happen and we won't go on vacation." or we go and then terrible things happen. Chances Are is a form of anxiety that is hard to shake when you've endured real life traumatic, anxiety inducing moments. That truth can mess with your ability to live a life without fear.
Last Christmas, our basement flooded late night on Christmas Eve (we discovered Christmas Day); also on Christmas Eve, our dryer broke, our middle daughter tripped over a laundry pile in her room and sprained her hand, which led to a Christmas Day urgent care visit, during a pandemic. Then on our way to Ohio, the battery in Mike's car died in our driveway; when we went to get it replaced, the battery acid had corroded the leads. An array of strangers supported the battery replacement.
I mean what are the chances of all that?
When Lily was born so early and battled her way through the NICU, we really believed we paid our dues. The chances were that she would not become a child affected by cancer and then she was. Then Chloe was another preemie; but then in an opposite twist, Nicholas was not--and I was never sick with preeclampsia the third time around.
Chances are works both ways--for blessings and curses. But, getting trapped in the Chances Are way of thinking is not an honest way to live after a trauma. I've been playing the Chances Are game all week with myself--to the point where I fear I might give myself some sort of chronic, stress-induced health condition or I might ignore some health condition. It plays with your mind to guess the odds of the future and it takes you away from the truth of the present, unlike my other game, "The Things I know in This Moment" game.
I haven't wanted to play The Things I know in This Moment game, because I am a bit stuck in the land of denial and fear. But, I'll try. Right now, the The Things I Know in This Moment are:
- Lily is feeling better, looking better and determined to catch up on all the work she missed because of her shunt failure, surgery and recovery.
- Chloe is writing beautiful thank you notes to her teachers that come from her heart.
- Nicholas is in his room, not asleep, but happily playing a hardcore game of pretend, letting his imagination soar.
- I have an enormous to-do list, that feels oppressive, but I know it will get done, I always do.
- I am reading a fabulous book by Taylor Jenkins Reid called, "Malibu Rising," I can get lost in Reid's story and it is perfection.