"Do you cry each time something happens?"
"Where do you get your strength from?"
And, quite often, they say to me in sympathy, "It must be horrible for you."
I'd like to say, before you continue reading, that I don't want pity. We are not an unfortunate family. We are probably just different from the regular families you see around you. But like everybody else, we have good days and bad days...and we've had a few bad days quite recently. J had just been to the hospital again. It was one of the many times when we had to call an ambulance. He can be unwell all of a sudden - from a seizure to a cough that we think is harmless but then turns into a nasty chest infection. He is fragile and because he cannot walk, he is often prone to infections.
Stressful, you say. And I say, yes. But I guess one gets used to it. How do I handle the stress? When something happens, I become the supermum. No, just kidding. What I mean is, I just have to deal with the situation rationally. It breaks my heart to see my son unwell. But I cannot let panic or emotion get the better of me. I have to think straight at all times - until I am sure J is safe. And the family is alright. Then I sit down and go with the pain. Do I cry? Yes, if I need to. If it gets too much for me. Let's face it, I'm still a human being. I have to let the tears fall - to feel okay afterwards.
Very often, people say, "I wonder where you get your strength from." Believe me, you have the same strength, too. I can't remember if it was Julia Roberts who said something like this in a magazine interview: "When you become a mother, you discover that strength in you that you never know you have." But I say this, the kind of inner strength she talked about isn't only found when you become a mum. Everyone has it and you discover it in you when you have to use it, when life throws something challenging at you. Remember the saying, "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger."
I always try to be positive. To see the light at the end of the tunnel. To continue to believe that when there's life, there's hope. And the sun always shines after the rain (in the UK, it doesn't though. It stays gloomy most days. That is unfortunate). When we have good days, we enjoy them. We love going out, having a meal together, shopping together. J is adorable and we get a lot of joy from him.
I don't know how I stay positive. I try my best to be. In life, we always have a choice - to get depressed or to be happy. To feel sorry for ourselves or get on with it and make the most out of it. I feel down and out too, sometimes. But in the end, I always choose to not complain about life. But to embrace it.
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on water, but to walk on earth. (Chinese Proverb)
PS. Thank you for the virtual hugs and love you send through your e-mails and phone calls. They make me feel better.