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Out with the Old, In with the New

This weekend we are moving Greta’s room from downstairs back to upstairs. Painting, decluttering, going through old stuff. It has certainly been quite the year. Covid aside.

Last year at this time Greta had an intense need for new. Like she was done with the old. Period. She had been taking the steps to become more functional for about 3 months or so and she didn’t want anything around her that reminded her of her years in bed 24/7. Including me. Like she even needed a break from me because I had been her constant companion during those years.

She and her dad went and stayed at a cabin for a while. And when she came home she could not stomach being in her old bedroom. She no longer wanted to be surrounded by the energy of her years in pain. She wanted to turn over a new leaf and had to have that reflected in her surroundings. So we moved her downstairs. Into the basement. Alone.

There was a time when she stayed in the basement a lot and it kind of scared me. I wondered if we were moving in the wrong direction. If we had made a mistake moving her down there. It has been a year of ups and downs. Like major ups (going to the Cleveland Clinic Pain Rehab Program) and major downs (severe mental health breakdowns). But all along she kept taking small steps to become more functional (with a few hiccups along the way). And it all brought us to where we are now.

As I move her stuff up the stairs I kind of think of the basement as the cocoon she needed. She needed to escape from her old life, and from us, and take the steps to change. During the past year she has become independent and capable of managing things on her own. She needed space to renew.

It is hard to know how to respond as a parent sometimes. You want to hold your child close and protect them. And their yearning for independence can be scary, especially when you know their pain needs a lot of managing. It has been really hard for me to let go of the reins and let her do things on her own. And it has taken a year of push and pull and figuring it out and times of her being mad at me and me being frustrated with her. But we are in a new spot now. I tend to my life and she tends to hers. And we love one another deeply but she doesn’t need me so much.

I think this past year has kind of been a cocoon for me too. When Greta needed a break from me I had a crisis of identity. My sole purpose for the last several years had been to care for her, fight for her, and keep her going. Now what? We yearn for some freedom when our kids need us so much but then when we get a little freedom it can be hard to know what to do. Or who we are anymore. Thankfully I have a lovely life coach that I have been working through all of that with.

This year has been hard but important for both Greta and I. And now as spring is arriving, we are crawling out of our cocoons.

Each of us with a little more freedom.

And independence.

And hope.

Ready to see what this next chapter of life holds.

~ Carla

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