It seems that these days I am never home. The kids and I are busy running to Cub Foods, the YMCA, Community Education Classes and the library. The other day, I told the girls that we weren't going to go anywhere, "we're staying home today." Like me, they were glad to have a day off of running errands.
Before my new diagnosis, I would go crazy because I rarely left the home. Day after day, I'd send the kids off to school and be by myself nearly all day long. If my mom wasn't coming over for the day, I would call her to chat and that would be my contact to the outside world. When my parents would be gone on vacation or visiting their friends, my company was the television. You see, at that time in my life, my hands didn't allow me to type easily or turn the pages of a book for more than an hour.
These past couple weeks, I have been so busy running errands in the "real world" and it can get overwhelming trying to keep everything running smoothly. I have to say, that this is a much better problem to have and I have to remind myself daily how fortunate I am.
Even though I have always tried to keep a positive attitude, I hated to cook! In the past, it would take me double to triple the time to make a classic Minnesota Hotdish ( a can of creamed soup, meat and noodles). Plus, the end result wasn't as good as what most people could make. Mine would often be over cooked and dry. In fact, Sharon would use Ketchup at nearly every meal to mask the taste. Through the years of struggling to cook I became very unsure of my abilities and doubted myself a great deal. Therefore, we ate frozen lasagna and other entree's weekly.
One year ago, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to teach myself how to cook! At first, I wouldn't change a single thing about any recipe that I found online, fearing that if I did it would turn out terribly. In the beginning, I'd often call my parents or e-mail Steve at work with questions such as, "how do I know when the pork chops are done?" to "why should I use fresh garlic over powdered garlic." It's been quite the journey. My cooking has improved a great deal and I even feel comfortable cooking for those who are not in my family.
After I try making a new recipe, I often feel proud of myself. In fact, yesterday I made two loaves of white bread. After 3 hours of prep and baking, I pulled the pans out of the oven and all but jumped up and down with gratitude because it looked just like it was supposed to. The kids and I took a taste and their expressions told me that I exceeded their expectations. I think the girls were just as happy as I was that I succeeded in my baking. I can't believe how far I have come in this last year and am so excited to continue creating more delicious meals for my family, without it feeling like such a chore.
Oh, and I must add that there is only 1/4 of a loaf left!
I've had a long, busy day, so I'll keep this post short.
On a daily basis I notice things that I can do that I never dreamed possible. The other night I realized that I can cook over a hot stove top and hold John at the same time. Back in the day, I couldn't stand while cooking. I would think about how my mom would hold me while she cooked our family dinner every night. I always felt bad that I couldn't do that with my girls, but accepted it just the same. It's hard to believe that I can successfully do this task now. Plus, I'm sure there are moms out there that moan and groan when they have to make dinner with a child attached to their hip. To me, it is pure joy! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a break from cooking, but when I do cook, I am grateful that I can do it with ease.
Once again, I was overcome with so much joy. My niece, Mikaela, chose me to be her sponsor for her Confirmation. I met up with her and the rest of my family at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The beauty of the church alone is enough to stir up emotion in me, but knowing I had the ability to walk around among the hundreds of people and be a part of Mikaela's Confirmation brought tears to my eyes.
I love her so much! Fourteen years ago, I went to Mikaela's baptism. I had difficulty standing and sat for most of the day. As I stood behind her in the long line waiting for her turn to be Confirmed last night, many thoughts swam through my head: How did she grow up so fast? How can I be standing here in this long line independently? I'm wearing sandals and I'm not worried that I'll walk right out of them (or fall). And then I felt the presence of God as a bright light shone above me. All I could do is pray for Mikaela and give thanks for the life He has given me.