In my mind this was going to be a funny post with all the hilarity that a serious illness can engender. Something like what Julie would be capable of doing, something biting and acerbic and funny as hell, with a lovely little lesson woven in there somewhere.
But I'm sorry. I just don't have my funny back on. So all you get is #1.
The #1 Thing I Learned From Pneumonia is....
That I derive all my self worth from what I can do for people.
Which means, of course, that I don't feel that I have any intrinsic value. I'm only as good as my use. Normally this isn't much of a problem. It keeps me busy, proving my value; it makes our weekends jam-packed full of activity. It makes me popular with hostesses; if I'm at a party I'm always the guest that's doing dishes, serving food, cleaning up, refreshing drinks, etc... I have a wide range of skills, and I am capable of getting a great deal done. I'm a handy person to have around. People like me. I feel like I deserve my partner's love.
But then, suddenly, I'm sick. And I keep doing things to maintain my sense of place and value... and then I push myself too far and get sicker. And suddenly I can do nothing.
Where does that leave me?
That leaves me wandering around the store in search of pecan pie while my prescriptions fill, wondering how quickly we could sell our house, and if the equity would be enough to set Kristin and Julia up in a nice condo or something (I, of course, worthless creature that I am, would just go move into my parents' basement) with some money left over for some vacations to celebrate the fact that she's just been severed of such a very great Dead Weight that has been dragging her down for much too long.
Ok, so it sounds ridiculous here. But at the time? At the time it felt like the right thing to do. The noble thing. Free her from the uselessness that is me. I have nothing to offer. I am empty.
Obviously, this is a problem. I don't judge people's worth by what they can do for me, why do I judge myself this way? And, more importantly, how do I stop? Anybody have any stories? Roadsigns?
Because my biggest concern right now is that I don't want Julia modeling this behavior. And I truly believe that the best way to parent is to lead by example. And if I can't do that, well then...
Aw CRAP! You see how pernicious this way of thinking is?