Today has been a pretty standard day over here in New Jersey. My daughter woke me around five am and we left the house around six am for our morning run. We arrived home an hour later (coffee in hand) made some juice and had a healthy breakfast. Following my shower, my family and I were sitting in the TV room each doing our own thing. My one year old was doing her yoga poses. She has actually mastered four yoga poses just by watching me do it for over a year in front of her. In this picture she was moving from a plank position to an upward dog position. It was at this moment that it hit me: I have been teaching this little person so much just by being a positive, healthy person. Of course it does not hurt that my dream has always been to be a mother and words cannot express the love I have for this person but it is more than that. I am the type of person (like most mothers I know) that is constantly thinking about what I am not doing right. I read a quote recently that said: “Behind each great child is a mother thinking about how she is screwing everything up.” However, I can say with great conviction that I am an amazing mother. I am in complete shock that many of the reasons I am such a great mother come from my bike accident and chronic pain. I have never felt that way towards my invisible illness but oddly enough it is true.
Before learning how to manage my pain naturally at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota I did not value life, ate like shit, drank all the time, never came close to a long walk much less a run, and the words yoga and meditation may as well have been in a different language. For the past year and a half my daughter has watched the person she is with twenty four/seven exercise, practice yoga, practice meditation, practice kindness, eat healthy, and give more love and empathy than she may ever see in her life. Now that she is saying many words and we are communicating I see how much of myself is in her. This may not be a big deal to many people. But, looking at this picture of my little girl who is just twenty one months doing yoga by herself is astonishing to me.
For the decade plus I was doctor shopping, taking medications, and living in complete chronic pain misery I never believed I would be a mother. I did not want a child to have to have a mother who had chronic pain. What could I possibly offer a tiny person? I could not even take care of myself. I knew what it was like to have a difficult childhood and I would never do that to another person. Now, at the age of thirty two with a toddler I can honestly say chronic pain has actually made me the best mother I could be. Not just because of the healthy lifestyle I live but because I know what a gift it is to have a child. Everyone always says my daughter is the happiest one year old they have ever met and that she is my mini-me. For the first time in a long time I am proud when people say she is a mini-me because I am beyond proud of myself.