Helen and I have had our ups and downs, particularly lately. She argues all the time, and it's wearing on me - for sure. I've been mid-text with my sister and mother to commiserate and while I have been texting to complain, Helen has been picking a fight. It's that bad, sometimes. (Most egregious argument? Whether melon was sweet or not sweet, which is when I finally had to tell her that we were going to have a lot of really great and interesting things to argue about over the next few years, so this was just one we could not engage in.)
To be clear, I understand a little of what Helen is going through. I was once the under-sized little sister to a big sister who did a lot of things right. Just like Helen wants to not be "little" all the time, I wanted to be thought of as independent and a big girl. I don't blame Helen. It's part of life.
But just when I'm about to throw my hands up in the air, I am reminded that she also always knows just what to say when she knows things are not going well.
On Saturday, I woke up in so much pain that I was unable to walk, turn my head, or really do anything without wanting to tear up. We were at the beach. The pain had started on Thursday morning and was intermittently better. It became clear to me that my goal race - the Marine Corps Marathon - wasn't going to be in the cards for me if things didn't turn around quickly. (Race day was just 8 days away.)
I booked an appointment for a massage. Ed lifted pretty much anything that needed to be lifted. Miraculously, no child jumped on me, asked to be carried, or played too roughly with me.
Helen did follow me into the bathroom and tell me "I just know you're going to be able to run, Mommy. I just know you're going to feel better soon." And she didn't just tell me this once. She would find private moments over the course of the weekend, ask me how I was doing, and then assure me it was going to be fine. I was going to be able to run.
And after my massage, I was feeling a lot better. I am treading lightly now, hoping that nothing tightens back up. I have abandoned carrying things up or down stairs. I make sure I sit properly, take walk breaks, and stand while working when I can. I stretch every half hour and I keep hearing that little girl assuring me that I will be able to run.
Helen - you have made a thousand stars shine for me.