"Your body has only one agenda," a friend messages me. "Maybe you're stressed about something?"
I laugh in the middle of our conversation. "Sleep deprivation, drama at volleyball, (not yet) moving, trying to be a perfect wife and mother... there's stress in plenty!"
Which is apparently why my body - or at least my jaw - is forcing a stop to all this. Raging pain has resulted in two dentist visits in the last week and then even a trip to the ER last night. No cavities or abnormalities to see on the x-rays, so the most probable diagnosis is TMJ. And the way to treat the poor overextended, pain-radiating area is rest (along with painkillers that aren't as helpful as I'd like.)
Friends and family are praying for me. Strangers I don't know are praying. It's beautiful and humbling. My father-in-law drove me home from the dentist. My wonderful mother-in-law came over yesterday to help watch Pippin so I could rest. And my husband has done grocery shopping and rubbed stress knots out of my back (not to mention handling the 1am ER visit and taking over Pippin care for the weekend).
I remember being nervous about the kraamzorg (after-care) coming when I had just given birth to Pippin. People taking care of me, tidying my house? Surely I could handle it on my own. It went OK, but I was hesitant to accept help in my own home.
Almost two years later, I can handle the attention more gracefully. I can even enjoy the enforced rest. And I can cancel appointments and obligations without feeling overwhelming guilt, which is a big change for me. I didn't even mind that my schoonmoeder walked in yesterday to a disaster of a house with unwashed dishes, unswept floors, and toys and laundry everywhere. Instead, I slept (or tried to), read, let my jaw rest, and only came out of my room for the occasional ice pack or magazine. (Well, I did do the dishes, and put Pippin down for nap. Old habits die hard.)
It's not that my house is usually spotless, because it's definitely not. It's that I don't usually let visitors see it messy. Or ask friends to pray for me. Or wake my husband up in the middle of the night and essentially demand he take me to the ER.
This week, with the sudden stop of my normal life, was not what I had expected. I hope I never have another week like this, honestly. But maybe, just maybe, it will be memorable enough to remind me to slow down, stress less, and ask for help along the way.