Checked Back In

Earlier this week, I realized I checked out at some point. I was preoccupied with a battle in my ongoing war with insurance companies, engrossed with the latest tasks involving Charlie’s feeding struggles, and busy with the daily therapy routines. Indeed, I had checked out. I was running on auto pilot and oblivious to the outside world.

Fortunately, there are days, like today, that accidentally come to my rescue.

napI almost didn’t go today. I had a list of excuses. My back hurts, my asthma is flaring up, I’m tired, there will be too many people on the road, and just about every other conceivable reason not too.

Last year, when Charlie, my husband, and I visited Chippokes Plantation State Park, we made the mistake of not planning enough time for the visit. Since then, I have wanted to return to do the things we didn’t have enough time to do during our first visit. Last month, I marked today on the calendar as the day of our return.

I watched the date creep up and thought about procrastinating. “The park will always be there”, I told myself. “We can go at any time.” My list of excuses circulated through my head over the last week.

Despite everything, last night, I made the decision to follow through with my plans.

I’m so glad that I did.

swimThe weather was perfect when we pulled into the park. There was a cool breeze in the air as we ate our picnic lunch in the shade by the river. It was nice but I was not that easily convinced I made the right decision.

After lunch, we followed a trail to the historical section of the park and spotted a snake swimming in the river. We were escorted the length of our walk by Zebra Swallowtail Butterflies. Charlie heard frogs croak for the first time.

OK, so maybe leaving the house was a good plan.

At the Farm and Forestry Museum, a barn cat hung out in the rafters, baby birds nested in an overhang, and… a bunny! It was official. I was smiling.

Things continued to look up throughout the day.

Charlie tailed a woman walking a beagle and wandered up to a man playing a violin. She laughed and clapped as he played. A park staff member offered Charlie a ball to play with. She gleefully bounced the ball and chased it over and over. It was tough to leave the spot to go for a swim.

pigFollowing the swim, Charlie napped in the shade and quiet of a garden while her dad took a mansion tour.

We concluded the day trip by visiting pasture animals as the park staff fed them.

I go through stints where the noise, chaos, and uncertainty of my world is too much. I feel defeated. My natural reaction to this is to shy away from people and unnecessary outings. It’s a survival mode I’m all too familiar with.

Honestly, I am not sure why I decided to go today.  But, I’m thankful I didn’t miss out. Today was precisely what I needed. I’m not up to 100% yet but, I have checked back in.

The pictures on the left were taken at the park last June. The pictures on the right were taken today.

The pictures on the left were taken at the park last June. The pictures on the right were taken today.


About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

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