This is The Day that I always buy myself flowers. Not just any kind of flowers either. Roses. The rest of the year, if I'm splurging on a bouquet to brighten my mood and home, I choose Crazy Daisies. They make my Heart Sing with their vividly colored petals around cheerful yellow centers. Today is different though. It's the Anniversary of a Surgery. A Personal One. What I usually refer to as, "My Stupid Hysterectomy". It made me mad. It got my attention. It changed my Life. For the better. I just didn't know it at the time. It was the Wake Up Call I needed to start Paying Attention to some things I'd let slide. Mostly Myself.
It's been four years now. It hurts a little less as each year passes. I was 35 years old at the time, with two wonderful boys who were little still. My oldest had "just turned" seven and my youngest was three and a half. The worst part of the surgery wasn't anything Physical. It was the Emotional Pain. I still had boxes of baby clothes, infant toys, board books and Gadgets Galore stacked and stored "just in case" we needed them again. I was sort of hoping we would have one more child. Three was the number I'd always had in mind.
It was a good friend, my age and single, who articulated how I was feeling inside when she said, "It's hard, isn't it, realizing that things (or people) we really want aren't ever going to happen?? Even though I am not a parent, I think I can relate, at least on some level, as my desire to have children is finally kicking in, and I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that the reality of it ever occurring is very slim. I guess it sort of feels like a loss, doesn't it?? Even though you aren't losing someone, you are losing the possibility of someone. Why does that hurt so much??"
Before and shortly after surgery I tried to sort through, separate and allocate where the Baby Stuff would go. What I should save for Future Nieces and Nephews, designate as donations to local charities and what was sellable at a future garage sale. I couldn't do it. I was a mess of weepy tears every time I tried. Finally I Set It All Aside. Packed it up and got it out of sight. Moved to the back of the closet and boxes lining the garage shelves.
Time Heals though. Even the Wounds That Can't Be Seen. On the first anniversary of my surgery I Did It. I went through All Of It. Unpacked, sorted, repacked, labeled and hauled it to my trunk for delivery here, there and yonder. Then it was done. Gone. Over. I didn't shed a tear. I was getting stronger. Moving away from one Dream toward another that isn't defined aloud even now.
At the time my oldest son, always a thinker, wanted to understand what the surgery was about. What they were going to do to me? I drew a diagram with a uterus, explaining it's purpose, and hooked on the fallopian tubes and ovaries for Good Measure. Gave him a quick biology lesson in terms he could understand. I told him what they were going to take out I didn't need anymore. That I'd be the same on the outside and just short a few parts on the inside. That settled his nerves.
Funny thing is, after surgery I did Two Things to Help Myself through it. The first is I started wearing eye makeup again. Now, I realize this sounds ridiculous. Who cares if I wear eye shadow and mascara or not? Besides My Mary Kay Lady, that is?! I wore it in junior high and high school. College was probably when I stopped bothering. Even the good stuff makes my eyes itch. I rub it off, forgetting it's there. However, about a year after surgery I needed Sparkly Eyelids to help me Feel Like a Woman. It was A Little Thing that helped me through the Emotional Bumps after surgery. The second thing was I bought some High Heels. I'd stopped wearing them and opted for flats instead for years. I'm short, even when I wear heels, so I figured I'd have comfortable feet. There is a Power to High Heels though. If you wear 'em right. One pair was red and the other black and they just slipped on, without straps or a thicker heel for balance and safety. They were Frivolous and Fun and good Shoe Therapy for me. I still have them in my closet. Haven't worn them in awhile. Kind of like the eye makeup that now sits unused alongside my basic routine of tinted moisturizer, blush with an eyelash curler to get me through each day. That is, if I even get around to putting makeup on. Since leaving work in June 2009 I'm seen "as is" more often than "painted" Out and About.
I bought my roses this morning at the grocery store. It was a Quick Stop, after a 5:30am Exercise Class, en route home to get breakfast for my sons, get them ready and to school on time. I headed to the flower display first. There were several colors of roses to choose from. I always know them when I see them. Today's bouquet is a vivid fiery orange with ruffled outer petals and some lighter gradation that can't help but catch your eye. They felt right. They were mine. Waiting for me. For Today. As I walked in, I remembered a few other things I needed as well. Final count was six: a bouquet of roses, my favorite thick sliced bacon, two solid chocolate bunnies (for Easter baskets), a package of wheat pita bread and (just because it was a buck cheaper than usual) a whole pineapple.
As I placed the roses in a waiting vase, after making fresh cuts to each long stem, I noticed one was bent. The stem had been damaged near the bloom. Instead of throwing it away, I cut it shorter, above the wound, and put it in a juice glass by itself near the larger vase. My hope is that it will still open and bloom. Wounded but not Broken Beyond Usefulness. Still Beautiful. My husband just asked me, "Who are the roses from?" I answered, "Me." Then I added, "It's the day I always buy myself roses. The Anniversary of my Hysterectomy". He buys 'em for me at Valentine's and our Wedding Anniversary. I have this one covered. This way I get to Pick 'Em Out Myself.
© 2011 Janean Baird, Turquoise Tangles