I am well overdue for writing an update on our family. You’ve all been so kind and thoughtful inquiring about how Zac is doing. So let me tell you, he’s doing AMAZING! He returned to work four weeks ago, full time, with just a few physical restrictions. He’s been rocking it since the moment he stepped back into that dealership! I couldn’t be more proud!!!
His back pain is all but gone. While he still has “soreness” it is nothing compared to the debilitating pain he was experiencing before the surgery. He has also found himself able to work more quickly and efficiently. Neither of us had noticed, since his condition had been such a gradual decline over such a long period, that he was having difficulty keeping his stamina up at work. That was reflected in the number of hours he was billing. Now that he’s virtually pain-free, he’s returned to billing hour amounts that he hasn’t reached in two years. Woohoo! He is also more content at work than he’s been in quite some time. I think a huge part of that is that for the past four years he’s been going to work every day knowing that his pain would be almost unbearable. I can’t imagine how much stress that put him under. But he still did it, for our family. I have so much respect for how much he suffered to support us. He’s still turning down those jobs that require too much lifting or bending or odd positioning that he knows will fatigue his back. The dealership has been very accommodating in that aspect. They are thrilled to have him back.
Zac has also become so motivated to maintain his overall health. We are making big changes in our diet and our environment to optimize the health of our family. We aren’t going nuts, but we did remove all the soda from our house. We are eating planned, balanced (organic when possible) meals with more veggies than I’ve ever cooked. We’ve also started removing chemicals from our environment in an attempt to live a cleaner life. Zac’s been faithfully working out five days per week. He has lost 35 pounds and looks fantastic! He has motivated me as well, so I’ve been exercising in the morning before work. Overall, we both have more energy with these new changes.
Coming out of the storm, I am beginning to see the benefits from this huge challenge. Zac is taking his health seriously in a way that I’ve begged him to for years. While our marriage was strained after his hospitalization, I can now see how much we’ve both learned from the reversal of roles we experienced while he healed. I now understand how much stress is involved in being the primary source of income and how difficult it is to change gears from work to home the second you step in the door. Zac better understands how much is involved in running a house with two small children, their schedules, needs, and selfless care. We are both more eager to share the burdens, more willing to compromise if the other one seems tired, and have walked (a little) in the other’s shoes. It has helped us grow in both love and respect. And for that, I am thankful.
I’m thankful too for the huge amount of personal growth I’ve experienced. I feel like a more grown up version of myself, albeit slightly haggard :-) I am acutely aware of how strong I am and how much I am able to endure. After Everett, when people used to tell me how strong I was, I’d shyly disagree. Now when people say how strong I am, I say I know no other way to be. And that’s the honest truth. I know no other way than to survive. And I’ve found pride in the person I’ve become. I’ve also learned that it is ok to not be ok. It’s also ok to tell others that you're not ok. In this comes a share of the burden and suddenly accepting help doesn’t seem so shameful (the acceptance of help is a learned skill). It is also ok to be angry, frustrated, upset, broken, and sad. None of those emotions mean that you’ve given up or are unappreciative of the blessings in your life. Those emotions are real. And in acknowledging them you find growth and maturity. In feeling them, you develop a profound appreciation for happiness.
I’ve also learned that life won’t always be easy… there isn’t a quota for suffering. That being said, we’ve had our fair share of challenges. But we’ve weathered them all and come out better because of them. I continue to believe that even in the most desperate of circumstances, there is a blessing and a benefit if you look hard enough (or long enough) to find it. While we look, it is our job to keep the faith that life, ultimately, is good. And I believe that, with all my heart.
The boys are doing well. Reece (the baby) broke his arm four weeks ago and ended up with he most adorable little cast. He’s all healed up now and is probably missing the weapon that he used to beat on his brother. Everett has started kindergarten and is loving it. He's also missing all four front teeth at once! There are more changes ahead for our family but we will adapt and weather them all in love for each other. We choose happiness knowing that the heart of life is good.
The Bollinger Family