My kids have this book called It Could Have Been Worse that follows a mouse on his journey home when lots of unfortunate things happen– he falls in a puddle, he gets stuck in a pricker bush etc. But behind him the whole way is a bigger danger like a cat or a vulture waiting to scoop him up. The message of the books is yes, what happened to you may have been bad, but it could have been worse.
I’ve been reminded of this message twice recently and I think it’s a good one for me. I have the tendency to feel sorry for myself. I’m definitely more of a glass half empty rather than a glass half full kind of person and I hope that recognizing that is the first step in changing it. At a recent neurology appointment, Max’s doctor reminded me of the same thing he reminds me of every time we see him. It could have been worse. I was asking a million questions about Max’s behavior, his ADHD medication, his outlook on school and the doctor stopped me (in a nice way) and told me that all of these things are symptoms of Max’s epilepsy. The fact that his epilepsy is well controlled and he’s continuing to grow and develop is the best news we could ask for. Based on his prognosis when he was first diagnosed, it could have been worse. It could have been much, much worse. I have reminded myself of that every day since that appointment.
The second reminder was by an old friend. He started a new blog, and when reading it, I learned about his and his wife’s struggles with infertility. Reading his posts made me feel really lucky. I had a miscarriage before Max, then Max was born with all his challenges, so after that, I really thought he’d be my only child. Honestly, mourning my unborn subsequent children was as hard on me as Max’s diagnosis was. But then I was able to go on and have another baby. But my friends can’t and for that, my heart breaks for them.
I do realize the message is cliché, and I’m not a cliché type of person, but it’s an important one for me to remember.