My body makes me laugh, because I am IRRATIONALLY cold all the time. Seriously, all the time. It's ridiculous. I keep my heater at 74. That's the coldest I let it get in here. (I tried to live like a normal person and keep it at 72, but I was freezing. Since I don't have anyone else around here to complain about the heat, I bumped it up a couple notches.) I keep my heater at 74, and I have a blanket with me at all moments. I sleep with a quilt, and wrap myself up in a blanket when I'm on the couch. ... And my feet and hands are still cold. All. The. Time.
Even now, my toes are are cold. I'm sitting cross-legged in the middle of my couch, with a fuzzy blanket wrapped around my legs and under my feet, with my laptop (that doesn't have a proper fan, so it blows hot air the entire time that it's up and running) resting across my folded legs. You would think, with the insulation of the blanket and the added heat coming from my computer, that I would be hot. But I'm not. In fact, I can feel my cold toes on my legs while I type. It is ridiculous, how cold I am these days, and it makes me laugh out loud.
My body makes me cry, because I can't do some of the things I used to be able to do. Last night, I was at a birthday party, and one of my girlfriends was carrying her three-year-old nephew around, holding him upside down, while he laughed himself silly. Suddenly, it hit me that I used to be that aunt. I'm not anymore, but I used to be. I used to chase my nephews down, or grab them while they walked/ran by, and pull them onto my lap and kiss them silly. They would bring me my purse, so I could gloss up before I'd run them down and mark them up with dark red lipstick. I used to pick them up and throw them over my shoulder and carry them around. I can't do that anymore. I can't run, I can't bend over quickly. And heaven knows that I no longer have the physical strength to lift a six lb weight over my head, let alone a six year old child!
A few weeks ago, I was at Jo's and Maggie asked me to "catch" her. I crouched down, so we would be eye level (I feel that it's important to talk to children on their level - literally) and told her that I wished I could, but I just couldn't catch her anymore. She tilted her head, squinted at me, and, like she was remembering something, said "But you used to." I smiled and said, "I know, but I can't anymore. My body doesn't work like that right now." I asked her if she remembered when I used to catch her and pick her up. She smiled, nodded and said she did. Maybe five minutes after that conversation, Sally came running at me and Maggie stopped her, bent down to her two-year-old sister's level and softly said, "Sally, we have to be careful with Laurie. She has a broken body." I love that Mag remembers that I used to play with her. I love even more that she defends my broken body to her baby sister. ... So sweet.
It makes me happy to know that Jo's older kids all remember playing "Baby". I don't have it in me to hold them and rock them anymore, but I love that they remember that I used to. I'm glad that most of my nephews are old enough to remember that I used to wrestle them down and kiss them. I live in hope that, by the time Monson is old enough to play chase, I'll be able to run after him.
My body makes me laugh, and my body makes me cry. It works wildly differently than it used to, but... for the most part, it still works. I miss some of the things I used to be able to do with it, like chasing and picking up kids. But, at the same time, I'm so incredibly grateful for the things it can do. (Did I tell you that I can now raise my right arm high enough to put a hanger on the tall rack in my closet? Progress!)
I'm grateful that I was that fun aunt/cousin/grown-up/friend to so many kids for long enough that they remember me like that. (I like to think that, because that part of me is in their memory banks, she still exists.) I'm grateful for socks and blankets and electricity that keep me warm. I'm grateful that there are children in my life who want to play, but are content to pull themselves up into my lap (since I'm generally not strong enough to pick/pull them up and put them there) and sit there and talk to and laugh with me. Even on the days that it makes me cry, I am grateful for my body and what it can do.