March 10. It’s difficult for me to remember a time when this date wasn’t significant. When all it represented was a day closer to spring. Now it’s as ingrained in me as my birthday. Each year I wonder if it will carry less weight, but I’ve always found dates and anniversaries grounding—a time to reflect and a way to measure progress—and even though this one date is heavy, I appreciate that it gives me space to take stock. So here we are again. March 10, 2022. Six years.
I don’t know exactly how I’m feeling today. I’m touchy and deeply feeling the audio to a reel that keeps popping up on my feed:
“This is just a quick shoutout for anyone who comes in contact with me today. Today is not the day and I am not the one.”
I don’t want to talk about it. I wish I could stop thinking about it. Tears have been threatening since last night, but I don’t want to cry. So I haven’t. I’m annoyed at myself for not being fine.
Yes, this day always carries weight but I’m not sure I understand why it’s cutting so deep this year. Why it’s difficult to find the positive spin. Maybe coupled with the heaviness of the world that everyone is feeling, it’s just too much for one day. Or maybe it’s the odd milestone I’ve reached in my paralysis journey.
As the calendar inched closer to today, my thoughts centred around the fact that I have now been paralyzed for half of my mom-life. I’m well-aware I put those six years of able-bodied parenting up on a pedestal—framed them and hung them up in my mind as if in a museum—but I’m not sure I realized how much power I gave them. Not only the years themselves, but the entire lifetimes I imagined during those six years: the events, the activities, the milestones, all executed with my fully functioning body. I gave those years power to be superior to the life I ended up with. And I think that’s what I’m feeling today: that I ended up with a downgraded version of my life.
The stupid thing is, I know my life is all kinds of wonderful. I am not hard done by. My experience with disability is a privileged one and I’m as much a mom today as I was just over six years ago. And yet, it still hurts. Even knowing all of that. Even after putting in the work. Even after six years. Sometimes, it still hurts.
I remember somewhere along this journey I said I wasn’t sure I’d ever be fully healed. I still believe that. Healing is a never-ending process, but I can’t heal from pain I don’t acknowledge. So I’m not pushing it all down and pretending to be fine today. I’m just sitting with it. Giving myself permission to miss who I was and who I thought I’d become. Permission to let myself keep those first six years of motherhood on a pedestal for one last day because I know it’s time to take them down.
But not today. Today is not the day. Maybe tomorrow.