Monday, September 22, 2008

You're the Only You You've Got

I'll be the first to admit that my parents did a bang-up job. Sure, I've got issues, but I'm convinced not all of said issues are the fault of my parents.

But there are others who spend most of their lives trying to overcome their childhoods, often at the expense of properly taking care of themselves.

My mom, whom I love more than words can possibly express, is one such person. She had a tumble recently, and she's having trouble sitting still and letting her body heal. I know exactly why my mom thinks she's not worth taking care of: Her mother.

My grandmother has more issues than can be contained in a single blog post, but suffice it to say she made a wreck out of anyone who ever believed they deserved anything. And so, my mother thinks she deserves exactly nothing.

Over the years, she's improved at this dramatically -- but it took a severing of ties with my grandmother for that to really start happening, and it's all to easy to regress. My mom thinks that she needs to clean the house, make dinner and give herself no time whatsoever, because why does she deserve to take a break? Who is she to sit down and relax? Isn't it her responsiblity to keep a nice house and have dinner on the table? I must insert here that my father has given her no such idea...he loves her cooking, but he loves eating out and also wants to have the love of his life around for many more decades.

She's learned to buy herself a Coach purse without guilt (but of course, it has to be at the outlet, on sale and with a coupon), but she hasn't learned how to care for her body.

Growing up with chronic illness, I've learned that if I don't take care of my body, it won't take care of me. I simply have to get myself to bed at a reasonable hour. I simply have to skip the housecleaning if I'm sick. My mother will read this and say, "You do it, too! You work yourself to the bone!" That's true. I also know better, and when I'm working myself silly, I'm thinking, "This is ridiculous. I need to sit down and have a snack before bad things start to happen."

Mama just works herself silly and doesn't get that little voice in her head telling her to take care of herself. The voice in her head tells her to keep working, because she's a nothing of a person and doesn't deserve a break.

I worry that she'll never learn what she needs to do for her body. I worry that she'll age before her time, because she's not allowing herself to be treated well.

It's not only that she deserves to be taken care of but that she has a responsibility to take care of herself.

I know she reads my blog, and I know these are all words she's heard before, but I really want her to understand that taking care of herself now is not just something she owes herself but something she owes her family and friends and pets and God, you know, because of that whole temple of the Holy Spirit thing.

Yeah, that's right, I brought out the Jesus. I am not above guilt tripping with Bible verses to get my mom to stay off her feet and stay away from cleaning the kitchen floor.

I want her to take care of herself for the sheer love of the body and life God gave her, but if I have to come out swinging guilt, oh, I'm all over it.

So, here I am, guns blazing, insisting that she immediately start taking better care of herself, before I have to go over there and kick some booty...and seriously, who wants to have to kick their mother?

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