Hope is a Fluid State
From the Editors archives #essay I’ve recently begun paying close attention to how my mood is when I wake up. Either in the morning to get the kids up for school (if I haven’t worked that night), or in the afternoon (if the daytime WAS my night’s sleep), or after an evening nap before I head into work. As I open my eyes, before I even turn on my bedside lamp, my mind immediately starts working and a ton of things run through it. Appointments, phone calls to make, emails to write, chores to do, errands to run, etc., etc…..I know everyone has these lists. Mostly they are filled with the things we need to do before we can sleep again. I was simply curious as to what makes me get out of bed and gives me the will to do them. So before I’ve left my bed, I’ve inventoried my feelings. I was pleased, saddened and perplexed by my discovery. I think more on the side of perplexed, though. It was hope. I hope the house isn’t a total mess. I hope the kids did their chores. I hope I can get everyone off to school today so I can tackle the million things I have to do. I hope the day goes as I’ve planned and that I have enough energy to make it all happen. I hope no one is sick. I hope no one has been fighting and feels badly. I hope I get some time for ME today….and I always get out of bed to find out. A funny thing too, that I have these same hopes when my head hits the pillow, just in a different tense. I’m always hopeful that what needs/needed to be done, gets done. I was pleased because I DID have that hope. I was saddened because not everyone is lucky enough to have it. And I was perplexed wondering WHY I have that hope, when more often than not, the things that I am hoping for simply do not happen. For example… I worked Friday night and had a raging headache when I left the hospital Saturday morning. I was also very tired, due to recent events. I had planned to hit the store on my way home, but both of those factors made me decide to go straight home and get to sleep as I had to work Saturday night, too. So I decided to leave my grocery list and money for my older children to take care of, along with a plea for their help, and went to sleep full of the hope that it would happen. It did not. I was disappointed. And that’s when I realized my hope was fluid. I now hope I have time to do my chores, take my shower, and go to the store before work tonight. I hope I have enough sleep and patience in me so as to not go bat shit crazy on my children for not helping. I hope I get some time for ME before I have to go back to the hospital. Luckily, that happened. And I was grateful. But the previous day had been like this: I woke up to get the kids up for school, having NOT worked the night before. I hope everyone goes to school today, except Abby because she’s sick. I hope Alex has a good day and stays at school. I hope I can chill with my coffee for a while, and maybe write a little bit. I hope I can get Abby to the walk in to check her ear and that it doesn’t take all day to do. I hope I can get a nap in before work and before I have to take Abby to work and then pick her up. I hope I can do all my chores because I’m on a four night stretch and need to keep up. I hope I have time to eat something at some point. And as I sat, chilling with my coffee and listening to my youngest daughter throw shoes all over the living room as she missed the bus, that hope became fluid once again. I now hope I have enough sleep and patience so as to not go bat shit crazy on my kid for missing the bus. I hope that while I am gone to take her to school, Alex is okay and gets herself off to school on time. I hope this doesn’t mean it’s “one of those days.” I hope this doesn’t derail me completely. I was lucky, these hopes came to pass, and I was so grateful. I think it’s perplexing and totally weird that I am still able to do this. This hope thing. That I am able to adjust it according to my changing needs; that my hope is fluid, flowing, ever-changing, and that I haven’t lost it completely. I feel blessed for that. I am saddened that some people don’t feel this way, though. How can I help them? How come it’s not as easy for, let’s say, my fifteen year old daughter, Alex? The Monday morning after Mother’s Day, after work, I took my sixteen year old to a routine doctor appointment before settling in for bed. I had hopes I’d get good sleep before my younger children came home because I had to work that night. Unbeknownst to me, and the rest of my family, Alex had lost her hope entirely sometime Sunday night after I left for work. She took an overdose of allergy medication, in the hopes that she wouldn’t wake up in the morning. When it didn’t work, she got up and got herself to school. I found out about two hours later, when she confided in her sister. I was able to grab her from school and get her some help. I just don’t know if I was able to give her any hope. MY hope was fluid non-stop that day, however. I now hope we get out of the ED early enough for a good nap. Nope, sorry, it was five. I now hope I can nap short, but strong, before work. Nope,I got a couple hours, but was unable to sleep deeply. I now hope nothing else happens and I can get through my night at work. Sorry again, something did happen and I ended up home. I now hope I sleep well, with this unexpected night off. Nah, my brain was far too awake for that. I’m just wondering how I can give this hope to my daughter, explain how it changes, how it CAN change, based on what she needs. Make her understand that it never really goes away completely, it just changes into something else. And I wonder how many other people out there struggle because they don’t know that either. I’m kind of showing her that, she now has hope that her therapist will be able to delve deeply into her problem and she’s hoping for medication that will make her feel better. It’s just one small hope, but it’s something, and it’s changed from her previous hope that therapy would be enough. Today, while I’m writing this, I have hope that someone will see it and think about it. There is an awful lot that we who have hope can do to help those who don’t. Maybe if we all walk around today, with our eyes open, we can make a difference. Has anyone else noticed how society has closed its eyes? Closed its ears? And withdrawn its hand? What makes me truly sad is how our young people are growing up in this cold world, where it seems negativity and meanness and pettiness are the only things given freely. I hope that one by one, we can change that. I hope that by sharing my personal stories, I can help to change that.