Good news! The foot is getting better! (Said in an almost inaudible whisper in case said recovery is jinxed again). The physio reported real improvement yesterday following two weeks of forced rest and limited walking. The result of which has been a mental downward spiral. Feeling trapped and limited, made much worse by the school holidays. I feel like a caged bird dreaming of freedom. But at least the foot is getting better.
Good for the kids but not for me
“Let’s go to the woods!” exclaimed Mr LMR on his first day off work with us all. I sighed. “What part of ‘I cannot walk on my foot’ do you not understand?” This is the beginning of another strained negotiation over organising days out with the kids. In preceding weeks I have given in and agreed to activities that are good for the kids but not me. My painfully slow recovery has forced me to address this.
The monkeys are bursting with energy most days and love the outdoors. Being unable to meet their needs is painful. I am limited to sitting on the sidelines watching their freedom. But also finding their freedom limited as some days they are forced to be caged with me.
This was the answer
What are my options? Soft play (urgh!)? Cinema (expensive and not always suitable for Little Miss)? Bike riding (still in need of a bike seat for Little Miss) Or swimming? It has been a while since we went swimming together. I can’t do it alone as the rules say one adult to two children under 8 years old. But with Mr LMR off work too, this was the answer.
On Monday, after double checking the times, we headed to the local leisure centre. Now I normally hate the local pool. The mixed changing is cold, the pool has water jets everywhere that squirt in your face permanently, it is crowded, the pool is tepid at best and the showers are either scalding hot or freezing cold. Today however it was different. None of the above mattered because we were racing to freedom.
I really need a wee
We had considered travelling to a well known North East water park, but a quick squiz at the online reviews changed our minds. Expensive, more for older monkeys, tiny changing rooms. Besides at the age of my eldest two they were content with the wave machine and two slides at the local pool.
We endured the usual tense changing room situation. Five of us squashed in, monkeys over excited, shouting helpful things like “look at your fat boobies mammy” and “look at daddy’s hairy bum bum”. Guaranteed that, as both responsible adults are naked, someone will declare “I really really need a wee”!
I felt unlimited
Fate dictates that, the moment the changing room door is open, the monkeys will make an excitable bid for freedom, whilst you are immobilised with arms full of bags, coats, clothes and shoes. Still we managed it after jamming the locker door shut on our belongings. Freedom from the final burden. Just us in our swimmers, ready to swim.
As we stepped into the shallow pool entrance, I felt the weight lift from the foot. The feeling of weightlessness washed over me and I felt free. As the session continued I relaxed into the water. Body recovered from the initial cool shock of the water. Top and Middle bombing around me. I put on my goggles and dipped under the water. The sense of freedom was overwhelming. For the first time in weeks I felt unlimited.
I relieved Mr LMR of Little Miss and placed her on my back in “holiday swim” from Waterbabies. She comfortably held on, her little knees gripping like she was riding a seahorse. Then we were off, after her brothers for a game of seamonsters and divers. Over the next hour they took turns as I swam with them. Together under the water, through the waves or floating on the surface. Freedom.
As the siren rang for the end of our session for the first time ever I felt as disappointed as the monkeys. Although Top started showing strong hangry signs (hungry and angry) very quickly so this helped curb any full on sadness on my part. Off to the cafe for jacket potatoes and beans for us.
There are ways and means
Mentally I needed that trip to the pool. To be back in the thick of the monkey business again. Not sat behind a mental glass wall feeling frustrated. The following day I rode my bike to the park with the older monkeys while Mr LMR pushed Little Miss. There are ways and means to get around my limitations. So this is it, I’m striving for freedom by any means. Freedom from my physical and mental limitations. To free me up to be the best mummy I can be for my pack of monkeys.