Posted by: sistermom1 | October 4, 2011

More Learning

“Whilst the stark truth is that hardship and difficulties are inevitable and inescapable, the definitive question may be whether we yield under their weight or use them as an opportunity to better ourselves.” – Daisaku Ikeda

“I’ve never felt a pain that didn’t bear a blessing.” – Gene Knudson Hoffman

I continue to read a lot.  The quotes above are two examples of the things that have encouraged me most recently.  The universe continues to offer me tremendous support throughout this process.  The people, books and articles that I have encountered in the past few weeks have offered me comfort, guidance and support. 

This detour/journey is forcing me to face many of my limitations — as a wife, mother and sisterfriend.  I am not able to do things the way that I have been used to doing them.  My husband’s birthday is this week and I can’t get to the store to shop or take the kids out to find gifts for him.  True, the internet offers many shop-from-home options, but I have always preferred the hands-on experience of shopping in a store. 

My current health situation has given me the opportunity (forced me?) to do things in a different way than I would normally.  I do still get them done, just differently.  My current reality has made things like how to celebrate my huband’s birthday very different, but just as special — something I really needed to learn and appreciate about most things that I do these days.

One of the big things is how this condition has affected my parenting style.  When the kids were younger, I took great pride in being the mother who would take risks and do challenging things.  I would climb to the top of the high diving board and jump off, ski down the highest slope — do things that I hoped would encourage our kids and their friends to push themselves and do things outside of their comfort zones.  I developed a reputation of being crazy Aunt Linda who could be counted on to try anything safe once — and the kids would do it right along with me.  My friends would smile and laugh and shake their heads — but they were happy that I would do many things with their kids that they would not do on their own. 

I can no longer do most of the things that I did so confidently and easily back then.  I can’t be “crazy Aunt Linda” anymore, and I miss it.  This, along with many of the other changes in my life brought about because of MS, has changed the way that I parent.  I am not a better parent because I have MS, but I definitely parent differently.  I am not able to be as physically involved in the kids’ lives.  I am not able to volunteer at their school.  I can’t easily go on field trips, and if I do show up at their athletic events I tend to need more help than I can provide. 

Yes, the kids are older and need less of my physical presence during the day for them to be safe and happy.  They don’t need as much of that from me these days.  Thankfully my husband is able to provide much of the logistical support (pick-ups and drop-offs, track meets and basketball games, camp-outs and troop meetings… the list does go on!) 

This reality has left me time to pay closer attention to what is going on in our childrens’ lives and in their heads.  It has allowed me to spend time with both of our kids in ways that are meaningful to them.  Like most children, as they have gotten older, we have had to parent differently.  MS has forced me to make that change quicker than I would have otherwise.  Another thing that I see my children learning from our experience with MS  is how to handle difficulties and difference with grace and confidence.  Friends who have known them their entire lives have mentioned their compassion and their general thoughtfulness, which makes us proud.  I do worry about what they are learning from us and how we are handling the challenges that MS has presented.  I pray to consistently be a great example for them, and to raise them “…in a way that discourages self-absorption and foster open-mindedness…such openness of spirit [will] naturally develop into a warmheartedness directed toward others, toward nature and toward the universe.”



  1. You are a wonderful writer and you have a great ability to convey your story. I did not realize all the aspects of your detour. Thank you for sharing and allowing your readers into your journey.

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