“I hope you feel better,” my third grader says as she hops out of my car and walks into school. As I drive away I wonder how many times she’s said those words to me in her short little life. I land on “way too many” as my answer and the all too familiar guilt starts to sink in.
As a mom with migraine, I worry about so much. I think of all the plans we’ve had to cancel and the moments I’ve missed because I wasn’t feeling well. All the days my energy was low, and my patience lower. I worry that my girls will grow up remembering me being sick all the time. And I think of how awful I’ll feel if I’ve passed this disease, migraine, on to them.
And then I stop. I know these negative thoughts aren’t helpful and that worrying will never change my situation. Instead, I shift my focus to the mental list I keep of the positive moments my pain has brought me. I think about the time my 5th grader made me a “Headache Hotspot”—a basket full of comforting items to help me through a bad attack. I think of all the sweet forehead kisses and gentle hugs my girls have given me when I’m not feeling well, and how they know to keep the lights low and the noise to a minimum when they see that painful look in my eyes.
“This pain has shown [my girls] that we are stronger than we think and even though we may get knocked down, we can get back up and keep going.”
While I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, I see in each and every one of these moments that it isn’t all for nothing. It has taught my girls to be caring and vulnerable. Compassionate and empathetic. This pain has shown them that we are stronger than we think and even though we may get knocked down, we can get back up and keep going. Parenting with migraine is not easy, but I hold on tight to these little moments and they help me keep things in perspective.
Later, I stand outside of my daughter’s school waiting to pick her up. She’s taking longer than usual and when she finally walks out of the building she says, “Sorry I’m late. My friend has a bad headache and I know how hard that is so I stayed behind to help her pack up her things.” I smile and make a mental note to add this moment to my list. We walk to my car and she calls to her friend, “I hope you feel better!”