So far 2017 has been rather intense for our family. We had the most amazing Christmas, but then the new year hit and it has just been one hit after another.
A very dear relative passed away suddenly just after the year began and Steve's grandfather discovered that he is no longer in remission. In fact, his stage 4 throat cancer is now stage 4 metastatic throat cancer with growths in his lungs and liver. He is currently going through chemotherapy to fight this awful disease for the fourth time.
As if those things weren't hard enough on their own, we have had some struggles with our daughter's IEP. I have been fighting to get some form of assistive technology for her to help with reading since she has working memory problems as well as a significant reading deficiency. To me this seems logical that, unless she is being assessed on her reading ability, she should receive help with the content so she can truly show what she knows. The county agrees with me to an extent, but assistive technology is not cheap so it's been a long and hard fought battle with mixed results. The hardest part is knowing Yasmin is aware of everything going on despite our efforts to shield her from a lot of it and knowing that she is so nervous about passing this year so she can go to middle school.
My teaching job brought me a lot of stress in late January/early February as well. I got some difficult to accept performance reviews in addition to some frustrating data and, with the other stresses in my life, took them much more personally than I should have. For about a month I was convinced that I needed to leave teaching.
Add in Steve traveling for work a few weeks in there with me left to hold down the fort and the kids refusing to sleep and I was miserable.
Thankfully there is this amazing thing called "individual talk therapy" covered by my health insurance. I started meeting with a therapist once a week (now down to every other week) and she has helped me recognize that "toughing it out" for the sake of my pride is not doing anyone any favors. Self-care is your friend. All things I would have readily said to a friend in my same situation were apparently things I wouldn't say to myself.
I've spent more time with God as well. I've made it a priority to be at Mass every Sunday and observe holy days of obligation. Not only does it make me feel at peace, it gives me that spiritual nourishment I need to be able to extend kindness to those around me.
I'm happy to say that I'm feeling more like myself. The initial spark that ignited my passion for teaching is burning brightly again and I am better at recognizing when I need some time to recharge.
Loving people unconditionally, with your whole heart is hard. It's harder when you don't love yourself unconditionally as well.