Monday, February 6, 2012

Smiling and Happiness

The funny thing about a Traumatic Brain Injury (at least Maddi’s) is that many of the things that you used to do by default you have to consciously focus on and remember to do. Early on facial expressions had to be taught, practiced and reviewed. There are so many subconscious subroutines running in the background of our minds that with Traumatic Brain Injury have to be relearned. In the process of this work I came up with a quote that I have to say is pretty good! I don’t know if it is entirely original because I do read a lot but I thought I would share.

“The expression you use most often when you are young will be etched in the lines of your face when you are old.”

Life leaves its mark and the only thing we can control is how we react or respond to what is going on. Sometimes it is hard to smile when the clouds completely hide the sun from view, but knowing the sun is behind the scenes helps me to be patient while the storms resolve.

I have felt great moments of frustration and even anger for the resulting chaos after the accident. I have tried to stay positive because negativity never helps. Some days I am better at this than others. I want the background music of my life to be happy and peaceful but some days the heavy, grating, electric guitar that I despise takes over.

When the need arises with my kids you will hear me say; “Let’s bicker and fight about it because it always makes things better.” laced in sarcasm. In this situation I amend that statement to; gripe and complain. Nothing productive ever comes from idle complaining.

I have to be careful not to focus too much on the things that have been forever changed. Knowing that life is about the journey not a destination helps keep thing in perspective. Change is the rule not the exception.

Appreciation and Gratitude helps to balance the scale. Stacking up all your troubles and sorrows like metal weights on an old fashioned scale with one side being labeled as heartache and sorrow and the other blessings and joy, sometimes the sorrow tray hits bottom and things feel heavy. If you carefully and purposefully lay out each blessing, tender mercy, kindness and love on the other side, I often find that instead of balancing out, the scale leans in the joy direction instead.

I hope that the lines on my face will show my constant effort to focus on the happiness and joys of life. Time will tell.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unfinished Business

I know this is crazy but when I see or hear about the kids in my class during the 2010-2011 school year I have this weird empty feeling  like I forgot something important. I have always had this physical response to unfinished business which kindly keeps me from procrastinating but in this situation it is frustrating.

I was going through photos and came upon one of the Halloween party with my class. Seeing their faces left me longing to have seen the empty spaces where teeth should have been and longing to better know the cute little personalities that I expected to spend a year with. It reminded me of the journey of reading, math and writing that I didn’t get to guide them on. The fun new art projects I had planned still sitting in the cue waiting completion. The fun songs that we would sing ring in my mind, and my heart aches a little bit.

I love what I am doing and I am content. I know I was and I am exactly where I should be, but I still think of each of those sweet kids and I feel kind of robbed.

Crazy I know.